OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 8:47 AM – Tuesday, April 25, 2023
The World Health Organization warned that there is now a ‘huge biological risk” after fighters in Sudan occupied a central public health lab on Tuesday.
Dr. Nima Saeed Abid said that fighters in the Sudanese capital city of Khartoum have seized the National Public Health Laboratory on Tuesday before technicians were able to secure the biological materials and samples located inside.
Some of the samples that are held in the laboratory include samples of diseases such as polio and measles, which according to Abid, create an “extremely, extremely dangerous situation.”
“There is a huge biological risk associated with the occupation of the central public health lab by one of the fighting parties,” the doctor said. “This is the main concern: no accessibility to the lab technicians to go to the lab and safely contain the biological material and substances available.”
While expressing the risks of the situation in Sudan, the doctor declined to specify which side had seized the lab.
According to Reuters, the doctor then went on to say that since the fighting had started on April 15th, 459 people have been killed, and over 4,000 injured.
Amid the ongoing violence in the country, the White House announced late on Saturday that the United States military has successfully evacuated the American government employees from the embassy in Khartoum. The diplomats were then transported to Djibouti, from where they flew to Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.
State Department officials said that over 100 troops, all of whom were special forces, had executed the evacuation.
Less than 100 people were evacuated from the country, including the marines who were attached to the embassy. However, the American civilians in the country have not been evacuated.
President Joe Biden said that he was “receiving regular reports from his team on their ongoing work to assist Americans in Sudan, to the extent possible. We are also working closely with our allies and partners in this effort.”
National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said that the operations would only include government employees, and that American civilians are responsible for their own safety, and would have to make their way out of the country on their own.
The United Nations humanitarian office (OCHA) has reduced its activities in parts of Sudan after at least five aid workers were killed in the fighting.
“In areas where intense fighting has hampered our humanitarian operations, we have been forced to reduce our footprint,” Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the OCHA, said. “But we are committed to continue to deliver for the people of Sudan.”
Laerke said the OCHA team had relocated from the capital city of Khartoum, and would now lead humanitarian efforts out of the Port of Sudan.
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