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KHARTOUM - 11 Jun 2024

Khartoum’s Al-Nau Hospital decries lack of burial shrouds, sheets

Spectators stand outside Al-Nau Hospital in Khartoum after it was bombarded last October. (Courtesy photo)
Spectators stand outside Al-Nau Hospital in Khartoum after it was bombarded last October. (Courtesy photo)

The co-founder of the Volunteer Initiative at Al-Nau Hospital in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, Ali Gabbay, who also doubles as a member of the initiative’s media office, has expressed concern over the poor funding of the hospital's Unidentified Persons Department.

He highlighted that the department is grappling with mounting debts and has resorted to knocking on citizens' doors to request bed sheets to use as substitutes for burial shrouds for unidentified bodies.

Gabbay told this publication that the department has been operational since the outbreak of the war between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on 15 April 2023. He explained that before the war, the department used to receive about five dead bodies a day but that after the conflict erupted, followed by military clashes, random shelling, and aerial bombardments, they now handle up to 15 cases daily, including covering severed body parts.

“We are struggling to provide the necessities, especially during these challenging times, due to stray bullets and random shelling, which has increased the number of deaths from fighting, in addition to natural deaths,” he explained.

Gabbay revealed that they sometimes knock on citizens' doors to request shrouds and bed sheets to cover the dead.

“There have also been numerous newborn deaths and other fatalities within the hospital's departments,” he stated, and added: “We are responsible for shrouding and burying the bodies, recording all the deceased's details, and posting them on social media in search of the deceased's families and relatives.”

Gabbay appealed to philanthropists and organizations to help provide them with burial shrouds and other necessities for burying the dead, including flashlights for nighttime burials. He noted that the repeated use of grave-digging tools has impacted their efficiency, indicating that they need new tools.