Thu. Apr 25th, 2024


Red Sea attacks are making it too risky to ship medical supplies to Sudan

A picture taken during an organised tour by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on 22 November 2023 shows the Galaxy Leader cargo ship (R), seized by Houthi fighters two days earlier, approaching the port in the Red Sea off Yemen’s province of Hodeida. (AFP)

The peril commercial ships face in the Red Sea is now compromising the delivery of medical supplies to war-ravaged Sudan, leaving humanitarian organisations worried about their ability to deliver aid.

Since November, Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have attacked ships in solidarity, they say, with Hamas’ war against Israel.

Instability in that region is now colliding with the brutal civil war in Sudan, which is geographically removed from the Middle Eastern hotspots, but no longer easily accessible by sea.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) this week said it had “made the difficult decision to suspend operations to Port Sudan through the Red Sea route”.

Now, it has to find the money to use alternative routes.

Eatizaz Yousif, the country director of the IRC in Sudan, said:

Our logistics partner has proposed rerouting through another shipping line operating from Jebel Ali Port in the United Arab Emirates to Port Sudan, representing over 40% increase from the original freight cost.

If more aid agencies were to take this approach, it would make for much longer delivery times and administrative complexity too, on top of the expense, all of which could be avoided by simply shipping directly to Port Sudan.

“The alternative routes involve longer transportation distances, leading to increased transit times consequently causing delays in delivering critical aid to those in need, making our operations both challenging and expensive,” Yousif said. 

Blood transfusion bags, anaesthesia, gauze, solutions, and suture threads are among the medical supplies that are in short supply in Sudan’s conflict zones.

The war between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) is now in its 11th month, and civilians have been heavily hit. Both the SAF and RSF accuse each other of attacking civilian populations, and both have been accused of gross violations of human rights and breaches of international law.

Shipping companies warn that the Red Sea crisis could continue until the end of the year, if not beyond. 

Originally published on

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By Chala Dandessa

I am Lecturer, Researcher and Freelancer. I am the founder and Editor at ETHIOPIANS TODAY website. If you have any comment use as email contact. Additionally you can contact us through the contact page of

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