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Fuel, water shortages hit Sudanese capital

AFP , Wednesday 8 Jun 2016
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Water and fuel shortages hit the Sudanese capital on Wednesday, with residents queing outside petrol stations and waiting for water tankers across several neighbourhoods of Khartoum, an AFP correspondent reported.

The drop in fuel and water supplies comes on top of electricity cuts for the past several weeks across many residential neighbourhoods of the city of seven million people.

Queues of vehicles were seen outside some gas stations in the capital, while residents carrying buckets waited under the hot mid-day sun for water tankers to arrive in their districts.

"I have been waiting for three hours now," said government employee Essam Youssef, sitting in his car parked outside a petrol station in north Khartoum.

"It's hot and I'm fasting for (the Muslim dawn-to-dusk fasting month of) Ramadan. This has been going on for a week. They say there's no benzene," said Youssef, whose car stood in a line of dozens of vehicles.

It was the same scene at several other fuel stations across Khartoum.

"There has been a 50 percent cut in the amount of benzene that we receive. We don't know the reason," said Badraddin Ali, a worker at one station.

"Our fuel station is one of the biggest in north Khartoum, but we can't offer benzene to these people," he said.

Several residential districts were also left without water on Wednesday.

"For six days now we've had no water.. this has increased our suffering during Ramadan," said Siham Mohamed, a resident of a working class area of Khartoum.

"We are buying water from tankers for 65 (Sudanese) pounds ($4.75) a barrel and we need four barrels for our family."

Behind her, groups of women and children carrying buckets and pans waited on a road for a water tanker to arrive.

"My kids have not used the bathroom today because there is no water," said Khalid Ahmed, a resident of Khartoum Three district.

"The authorities say there is no problem, but the fact is that we have no water in our home."

Officials acknowledged there was a shortage of water in Khartoum.

"There is a water crisis in some areas of Khartoum and Omdurman," the capital's twin city, said Khalid Ali, manager of a water pumping station.

"One of our main pumping stations is undergoing maintenance work and that has affected supplies in Khartoum and Omdurman," he said.

An oil ministry official, contacted by AFP, said there was no shortage of fuel but that car owners had been stocking up on fuel "more than their usual consumption".

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