Water supply cut off in Sudan capital as fighting escalates

Children fill tanks from a well to distribute drinking water in Darfur (File photo: Albert González Farran / UNAMID)

KHARTOUM / OMDURMAN – June 6, 2023

Air and artillery bombardment continued yesterday as army aircraft continued to fly over Khartoum and Omdurman on the 51st day of the war. Plumes of smoke could be seen across the cities. The state’s water supply is in danger as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have taken control of four water stations.

Residents in the southern and eastern neighbourhoods of Khartoum and Khartoum North (Khartoum Bahri) reported artillery and shooting yesterday morning.

Bashir El Sadig, a resident of Khartoum, told Radio Dabanga that the area of shelling has expanded to include large parts of the capital. The army’s use of heavy weapons has escalated as well, increasing the suffering of civilians and destroying residential areas.

Overnight and this morning, the army fired heavy artillery in Omdurman from the location of the Army Corps of Engineers base to El Moweileh in West Omdurman and the RSF base in Salah.

A resident told news outlet Reuters that his neighbourhood “has become a war zone. There are fierce clashes and strikes all around us because our house is next to the Engineers’ Corps”.

There are many reports of plundering, including by RSF officers.

Several civilians were killed and wounded by aerial bombardment and artillery shelling in several areas of Khartoum on Sunday as well, when the RSF announced that it took down a MiG. At least 16 people were injured in shelling in the El Sahafa neighbourhood in Khartoum.

The SAF army released a video in which it announced the control of the Nujoumi air base in Jebel Aulia in Khartoum on Sunday.

The army was able to defend its Engineers’ Corps base in Omdurman but the RSF are said to have most of Khartoum under their control at the moment.

Both parties are known to spread (often contradicting) propaganda on social media.

Water supply

El Sadig explained that there are ongoing outages and cuts in water supply, electricity, and communication services across Khartoum. Basic commodities are scarce, causing prices to rise on a daily basis.

Residents of Omdurman told Radio Dabanga that people are forced to flee from Khartoum North (Bahri) and Khartoum to Omdurman due to water cuts in the cities as the RSF now control four water stations in Khartoum, including the one in Mogran station since Sunday.

The RSF’s takeover of the Beit El Mal water station, however, will lead to a lack of water in large parts of Omdurman as well.

The Khartoum state Water Corporation condemned the RSF takeover of the Soba water station and the detention of its workers yesterday.

The Bahri and Beit El Mal water stations had already stopped working after earlier takeovers. This means that the four main water stations on which large parts of Khartoum state depend are out of use, the authority explained.

Most residents have been forced to leave Khartoum North due to the water cuts. More than 1.2 million people have been forced out of Sudan’s capital and other cities by the fighting.

People in Omdurman also spoke of dire humanitarian conditions as violence is escalating and displaced from Khartoum and Khartoum North seek refuge in the western city.

A resident of central Omdurman told Radio Dabanga that food and medical supplies were not available. Pharmacies and shops are running out of stock and people are scared to leave the house.

Activists who distributed medicines are unable to move across the city due to the ongoing air and artillery bombardments.


El Sadig said that the recent rainfall, in combination with the fighting, has exacerbated the suffering of civilians, who might now be subjected to electric shocks as electrical wires have been damaged and can be found on the ground.

The displaced in shelters in different cities suffer from the rains as well. Most displaced people live in tents and other makeshift shelters, which are not waterproof.

Those who sought refuge abroad or elsewhere in Sudan and who were expecting the war to end after a short period also suffer from psychological conditions, El Sadig explained.

Fighting also continued in various areas in Darfur and in North Kordofan, around El Obeid.