Emergency room: ‘Internet blackout hobbles aid to thrice-displaced Khartoum families’

Map of RSF attack on Jebel Aulia, which began on November 12 2023 (Source: Sudan War Monitor)

The ongoing internet and communications blackouts in most of Sudan have severely compromised efforts to provide humanitarian aid to civilians in Jebel Aulia, south of the capital Khartoum. The Jebel Aulia Emergency Room has appealed to the international community and humanitarian aid organisations to apply pressure on the Sudanese government to restore internet and communications networks to all states, so that planned vital relief efforts, that have been suspended, can go ahead.

In a statement to Dabanga today, the emergency room points out that many residents of Jebel Aulia were forced to flee due to random bombing of neighbourhoods in the southern part of Khartoum in October 2023. As previously reported by Dabanga, Jebel Aulia, and its strategic miliary base, has been the site of fierce battles between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

“Jebel Aulia Market was also closed, threatening the population with a lack of food and medicine. A month later, the civilians were forced to evacuate their homes and families to the villages of White Nile and El Gezira states. Then, in January, families were forced to return to their homes after they were stranded [without aid] in the states they sought refuge in.”

The statement says that the emergency rooms in the national capital “tried to provide them with the simplest necessities of life during this critical period,” however, the communications blackout was devastating and prevented the provision of any aid.

Three central kitchens stopped operating due to the network blackout, and five more kitchens that were scheduled to be established in the eastern and western neighbourhoods were discontinued, as were centres for distributing food baskets at Jebel Aulia Market.

Internet blackout

As reported by Dabanga this week, the total telecommunications and internet blackout continues in most parts of Sudan. The outages are causing a severe cash crisis in the country. The managing director of Zain Sudan confirmed to Dabanga that the company’s services have been cut by the RSF.

While large parts of Darfur and Kordofan have been experiencing months-long blackouts, forcing people to use Starlink satellite communication network, the rest of Sudan remains for a large part cut off from the outer world for nearly three weeks.