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Sudan has Another Health Crisis on its Hands

An outbreak of Rift Valley fever has killed dozens of people and infected more than 1,000 in Sudan’s Northern state, according to local doctors. Doctors told the Guardian the disease has spread across the towns of Merowe, Al Dabbah and Karima, mainly among cattle herders. However, the Sudanese government has so far denied there is an outbreak of the disease. On 10 October, Mohamed Hamdan Hemedti, head of paramilitary unit the Rapid Support Forces and vice-president of the sovereign council, said the country was free of the fever. “We don’t have the Rift Valley fever disease in Sudan, we don’t have it at all,” he said at an event in Khartoum. Dr Abdulhadi Gendeel, a former lab technician from a village near Merowe, said his uncle, 50, and brother-in-law, 27, had died of the disease, which can affect humans and animals. Both died within two days of developing symptoms, he said. Last year, 11 people in Sudan died of Rift Valley fever and hundreds more were infected after the disease spread across the Red Sea and Nile states, according to Acaps, an NGO based in Geneva that provides independent humanitarian analysis. This year, the first cases of the disease among humans appeared in late August, following unprecedented heavy rains and flooding of the Nile. About 10 million people in Sudan are now at risk of contracting waterborne diseases such as cholera due to the flooding, and millions more are at risk of malaria, Acaps said.