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Severe water and power supply problems in Sudan due to fighting


KHARTOUM / PORT SUDAN – July 18, 2023


Many power and water stations in Sudan are unable to operate due to the war as spare parts are scarce, maintenance cannot be carried out in unsafe conditions, and staff has fled. Many essential services are unable to run because of the severe power and (drinking) water shortages.

The Sudanese Engineers Union committee* reported that the thermal power station in Khartoum North (Bahri) stopped working in the first week of the outbreak of the war. The thermal plant in Um Dabakir near Kosti in White Nile state is only partially operating.

The committee reported yesterday that other off-grid stations in the states were not operating because of a lack of fuel and spare parts.

The report stressed that services in most parts of the country, especially Khartoum, are deteriorating due to the continuation of fighting.

That the high-voltage lines in the Khartoum state area, which have been hit since the beginning of the fighting, are still out of order.

Announced truces failed to provide a minimum level of safety for engineers and technicians to carry out operations and maintenance work on energy stations and networks. The growing security threat in Khartoum neighbourhoods also caused most workers to leave the capital, leaving a large gap in the workforce.

Most of the foreign engineers and technicians working at Turkish power units and doing maintenance on machines in Darfur and Kordofan were evacuated after the war broke out in mid-April, causing a shortage of staff as well.

Good news

The electricity supply in Port Sudan became stable last week after the payment of debts to the owners of the Turkish power ship on the Red Sea coast.

The technical team of the Power Purchase Insurance Company managed to secure electricity for consumers with alternative programming after the loss of services of the main server in Khartoum, the union said.

The general manager of the company also issued a decision allowing workers who were displaced to the states to join and work in the state departments in which they are located.

Water stations

Four water stations in the capital (Bahri in Khartoum North, Beit El Mal in Omdurman, and El Mogran and Burri in Khartoum) stopped operating because the engineers and other staff are not allowed to enter the stations by the RSF troops who occupy them.

The El Shajara and El Sahafa water stations in Khartoum are working with backup generators for only a few hours per day as the power provision is continuously interrupted.

The engineers said that all water plants at the various dams in the country are working well.


* After Omar Al Bashir had taken power in a military coup in 1989, he banned the trade unions in the country, to forestall the sort of revolt that had toppled previous leaders. His regime then set up its own trade unions and appointed affiliated Islamists, such as Ibrahim Ghandour, on leading positions. Following the ousting of Al Bashir in April 2019, these unions were dissolved and the various professional groups were given the opportunity to set up ‘real syndicates and unions’ again. Journalists were the first to establish a syndicate and appoint elected leaders. Other groups, including medical doctors and engineers, were in the process of setting up a union but when the October 2021 coup d’état led to the reinstatement of the former trade unions, they were forced to postpone the undertaking.



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