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Official Warns 'Huge Biological Risk' After Gov't Loses Control of Lab with Deadly Diseases

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With 16,000 Americans trapped in the war-torn nation of Sudan where the most recent truce has been shattered, an official of the World Health Organization said something even more dire could take shape.

According to CNN, Nima Saeed Abid, the WHO’s representative in Sudan, said the seizure of the National Public Health Laboratory Khartoum by a paramilitary group is  “extremely dangerous because we have polio isolates in the lab, we have measles isolates in the lab, we have cholera isolates in the lab.”

“There is a huge biological risk associated with the occupation of the central public health lab in Khartoum by one of the fighting parties,” he said.

CNN reported that it was told by what it called “a high-ranking medical source” that the Rapid Support Force, which is battling for control of the country, gained possession of the lab.

“The danger lies in the outbreak of any armed confrontation in the laboratory because that will turn the laboratory into a germ bomb,” CNN quoted the source as saying.

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“An urgent and rapid international intervention is required to restore electricity and secure the laboratory from any armed confrontation because we are facing a real biological danger,” the source said.

Dengue fever and malaria are currently ravaging Sudan, Abid said, which makes the occupation of the lab even worse, according to The Hill.

A WHO statement said “trained laboratory technicians no longer have access to the laboratory” and that the facility had suffered power cuts, meaning “it is not possible to properly manage the biological materials,” CNN reported.

On Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that he had helped set the terms for a 72-hour cease-fire, according to Fox News.

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However, CNN reported that gunfire in the streets and fighter jets in the sky on Tuesday showed the cease-fire had failed to take effect.

The conflict that broke out 11 days ago has killed at least 459 and injured more than 4,000, according to CNN.

Although U.S. forces evacuated the U.S. embassy in Khartoum on Saturday, an estimated 16,000 Americans in the country are on their own, according to NBC.

“The city was complete mayhem when I left,” travel writer Lakshmi Parthasarathy of New Bedford, Connecticut, told NBC, adding that rides to port cities where ships are waiting cost thousands of dollars.

“There were women, children, families who were escaping villages along the way. I thought at the time that only Khartoum had seen the most destruction, but we saw villages that had clearly been devastated by the war,” Parthasarathy told NBC.

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As the chaos widened, Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, noted his fears for the trapped Americans in a letter to Blinken, and likened it to the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.

“I have grave concerns for the safety of all American citizens in Sudan, including private citizens, official U.S. government employees, and their family members. The Afghanistan Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation (NEO) in 2021 demonstrated the consequences of failing to plan adequately for worst-case scenarios, mixed messaging by the State Department, unclear chains of command, the inadequate coordination between the State Department and the Department of Defense, and the failure to coordinate with private organizations evacuating American citizens,” he wrote.

“Not wanting to repeat the mistakes of the Afghanistan evacuation, I seek clarification of several key issues necessary for a successful evacuation of American citizens in Sudan,” McCaul said in the letter on his website.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
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Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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