Al-Mayqoma orphanage’s evacuation in Khartoum took time because it required security guarantees from warring parties.
For the last few weeks in the al-Mayqoma orphanage in Khartoum, the tiny limbs and small corpses of children who died have been wrapped in white sheets, bundled together awaiting burial.
More than 70 children have died there since mid-April, caught in the continuing deadly conflict in Sudan. But those who have managed to survive have finally been ferried to safety outside the capital, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) told Al Jazeera on Thursday.
At least 280 children and 70 of their carers were taken from the orphanage to a new facility in Madani, about 135km (85 miles) southeast of Khartoum, arriving on Wednesday evening, said Alyona Synenko from ICRC Nairobi.
Synenko said the evacuation occurred nearly eight weeks into the conflict because it required security guarantees from the warring parties, the Sudanese army and its rival paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
“We couldn’t put the lives of the children at risk without being 100 percent sure that we have all the agreements and all the security guarantees that we need because we didn’t want to do more harm than good by jeopardising their safety and putting them at risk,” Synenko said.
The evacuation involved a large convoy of buses accompanied by ICRC cars, she said, explaining that the organisation was asked to facilitate the evacuation by the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Health.