Amid Deepening Crisis, WHO Assessing Risk From Sudan Lab Seizure

By i24
Posted on 04/26/23 | News Source: i24

The country of 46 million is plunged increasingly deeper into crisis, as 72-hour truce is interrupted by gunfire and explosions

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday it was assessing the threat posed to public health after fighters in Sudan occupied a national laboratory holding samples of deadly diseases.

"We are also concerned that those occupying the lab could be accidentally exposed to pathogens stored there," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference in Geneva. 

"WHO is seeking more information and conducting a risk assessment."

His comments came a day into a 72-hour ceasefire brokered by the United States that was struggling to hold after the regular army launched renewed air strikes against rival paramilitary forces in the capital Khartoum late on Tuesday.

Gunfire and explosions could be heard in the city, mainly around the military’s headquarters and the Republican Palace in central Khartoum and around bases in Omdurman across the Nile River.

The nearly two weeks of urban combat has killed hundreds, wounded thousands, and sparked a mass exodus of foreigners, while the United Nations has warned a giant new refugee crisis could be brewing.

The generals’ war for power in the past two weeks has pushed the population to a near-breaking point. Food has grown more difficult to obtain, electricity is cut off across much of the capital and other cities, and many hospitals have shut down. Multiple aid agencies have had to suspend operations, a heavy blow in a country where a third of the population of 46 million relies on humanitarian assistance.