El Geneina is a word that translates to "the garden" in Arabic, but the meaning lacks alignment with the current harsh reality that people there have recently been living through. It is estimated that at least around 500 people have been killed since the fighting began, and that a similar number of wounded remain trapped in the city, unable to access lifesaving treatment. No one can get into the city to help them, and no one can get them out. MSF has a surgical team waiting in Adré, Chad, but evacuation of the patients is currently impossible due to the ongoing fighting.
El Geneina is the capital of West Darfur State and has been grappling with decades of violence and displacement. In the initial days of the current conflict, El Geneina remained calm, suggesting that the violence might not reach it. However, on April 24, heavy fighting erupted between the warring parties, in addition to the youth from different communities who took up arms in self-defence. This resulted in clashes and the theft of resources. Given the area's mixed population and lack of clear community-based control, it quickly became a hotspot for intense fighting and frequent acts of looting.
The residents of El Geneina found themselves caught in a tidal wave of violence and insecurity, their lives endangered not just by the fighting, but also by their inability to access healthcare. This is affecting all demographics: pregnant women, children, and anyone seeking medical care. Adding to their daily challenges, people are dealing with limited access to basic necessities like drinking water.