Diamonds cannot quench thirst: North Khartoum residents face water crisis

Citizens of North Khartoum city are at risk of dying of thirst as drinking water has been completely cut off outside residential districts for 11 days due to fighting between army and Rapid Support Forces.

The severity of the crisis worsened within the city’s residential districts, and reached serious stages, as the price of a barrel of water exceeded £20,000, which is equivalent to US$50.

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What he mourns is that this crisis, with its painful intensity, has not been limited to the living, but has extended to the dead, as providing the water needed to wash the bodies of the dead has become a bitter experience that makes people bleed. hearts of citizens there without a solution soon looming on the horizon.

Stone mourning human suffering

Citizens within the residential districts of North Khartoum and those who are helpless told heartwarming human stories that made the stone cry about their harsh suffering with the water cut off and how they were forced to look for other alternatives like mining of water from abandoned underground wells.

While another category resorted to drawing water from the Nile with carts, knowing full well that this method is fraught with serious dangers, first of all the risk of being suddenly exposed to artillery, missiles and air attacks, and the spread of looting and robbery gangs under duress, in addition to the shortage of fuel due to the closure of filling stations and its high price on the black market.

All these reasons made the use of carts to fetch water from the Nile “a very difficult task”.

Water treatment to fight germs and algae and just ablutions

At first, citizens resorted to buying water in bottle in stores, but it wasn’t a viable option, due to its limitations and also because the vast majority of stores closed their doors and no new batches of water arrived in bottle due to the difficulty of travel and movement due to the deteriorating security situation and the closure of bridges and main roads in the Sudanese capital.

In turn, a resident of Shambat neighborhood in North Khartoum told Agency stark details of her suffering with the water cut off, saying: ‘In the early days I had to walk long distances looking for a fix of water to quench the thirst of my family members, but I resorted a few days ago with my neighbors to extract water from an abandoned underground well. It is true that the water has an unpleasant smell – in to some extent – with a strange, unpleasant taste of metal rust in mouth, but “there is no help” as they say. The only thing we can do is put it on the fire until it reaches a boil, to avoid any disease and to ensure that any germs that have settled inside are killed and sometimes we go through this process several times.

He added: ‘In the case of cloudy water, we add some well-known traditional materials, such as alum, for example, to purify the water from mud deposits or algae before using it, which is limited to necessities such as drinking and prepare food only. As for ablution with water, we hailed it – as he says – long ago, and have sufficed with the tayammum. It should be classed as extravagance, unless the water is very salty and unsuitable for food and drink, then it is used for those purposes.

Where is Bahri located?

Khartoum North is considered the third side of the “capital of the triangle” along with the cities of Khartoum and Omdurman. It is located in the southern direction of the Blue Nile bank and in the northern direction of the Nile River, and is inhabited by about two million people.

As for the areas affected by the water crisis, they extend from the city center to the suburb of Al-Droshab in the north, and quest’area includes the old residential districts and new extensions of the densely populated city. On the other hand, the main water station is located in Khartoum North, east of the Mak Nimr Bridge, which connects Khartoum and Khartoum North.

Conditional intervention of the civil protection

As the humanitarian crisis intensified, requests for the Civil Protection Police to intervene to supply drinking water to vehicles through mobile points within residential neighborhoods increased. However, official sources told Agency that the Civil Protection teams must provide some sort of protection, because their movement will inevitably fall within the scope of military operations.

The water purification plant has been badly damaged since the first day of fighting between the army and the rapid support forces, and it is still not working until now.

For its part, the Khartoum State Water Authority said the National Electricity Authority’s inspection team could not reach the station due to deteriorating security conditions. The authority said in an official statement that the restart of the station depends on the return of electricity.

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