Mon. Jul 15th, 2024
Sudan War: Hundreds of people are living in acute hunger situations. Image Credits: UNICEF/ Mohamed ZakariaSudan War: Hundreds of people are living in acute hunger situations. Image Credits: UNICEF/ Mohamed Zakaria

The United Nations humanitarians have warned that the people of Sudan continue to face the horrors of violence and the imminent threat of famine. The warning echoes UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ condemnation of a recent attack on a southern village in Khartoum, which is now believed to have resulted in over 100 deaths.

Mini Arko Minawi, the governor of Darfur province, stated on platform X (formerly known as Twitter) that women, children, and the elderly were among the victims of the Rapid Support Forces’ attacks on Wad-al Noura village in Gezira. 

Additionally, a grassroots group established to protect residents in Wad Madani, the capital city of Gezira, reported on social media that the paramilitary force, which has been battling the Sudanese army for over a year, used heavy artillery to besiege and assault the village.

Conversely, the group claimed it had attacked army and allied militia bases around Wad al-Noura but did not acknowledge any civilian casualties. 

However, the Wad Madani Resistance Committees accused the group of carrying out deadly attacks on civilians, looting, and forcing women and children to seek refuge in the nearby town of Managil.

Mounting Concerns 

Additionally, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has warned that the number of people displaced by conflict within Sudan could exceed 10 million in the coming days. The world’s worst internal displacement crisis is intensifying, with the threat of famine and disease compounding the devastation caused by the conflict.

According to the IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix, as of its May 29th publication, there are 9.9 million internally displaced people across all 18 states in Sudan, accounting for both pre- and post-April 2023 data. Before the war in April 2023, the count stood at 2.8 million, with an additional 7.1 million displaced since then.

Amy E. Pope, the Director General of IOM stated: “Imagine a city the size of London being displaced. That’s what it’s like, but it’s happening with the constant threat of crossfire, with famine disease and brutal ethnic and gender-based violence.”

“Humanitarian needs in Sudan are massive, acute and immediate, and yet only 19 per cent of the funds we have asked for have been delivered. Unified international efforts are required to avoid a looming famine,” he added. 

Another crisis flashpoint is El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur in western Sudan, where approximately 800,000 civilians remain in danger due to intensified fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the rival Rapid Support Forces (RSF). However, the location remains “inaccessible” to the UN, both cross-line and cross-border.

How did the conflict begin?

This conflict has worsened many of Sudan’s existing challenges, including ongoing conflicts, disease outbreaks, political and economic instability, and additional climate emergencies. Prior to the current conflict, Sudan had already been struggling with violence and displacement since the onset of the Darfur crisis in 2003. The country was home to more than 1 million refugees—the second-highest refugee population in Africa—primarily from South Sudan and Northern Ethiopia, with many fleeing the conflict in Tigray.

The recent clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have erupted at a time when Sudan is already at its peak of humanitarian need in a decade.

The ousting of long-time authoritarian leader Omar al-Bashir in 2019 initially sparked significant optimism for a return to civilian rule in Sudan. However, a military coup two years later dissolved the transitional civilian government, leading to political and economic turmoil and reigniting intercommunal conflicts.

In 2019, the ousting of long-time authoritarian leader Omar al-Bashir initially generated significant optimism for a return to civilian rule in Sudan. However, a military coup two years later dismantled the transitional civilian government, leading to political and economic turmoil and reigniting intercommunal conflicts.

Sudan has also been severely impacted by extreme weather events linked to climate change, such as droughts and floods. These events have adversely affected hundreds of thousands of people across the country, causing the destruction of crops and livestock and worsening food insecurity for families.

Since the recent clashes began in mid-April, the humanitarian situation has worsened significantly. Nearly half of Sudan’s population, about 25 million people, need humanitarian assistance and protection. The country is experiencing severe shortages of food, water, medicine, and fuel, with nearly 18 million people facing acute food insecurity.

The dearth of fundamental necessities, coupled with violence and uncertainty, has forced many people to flee their homes. Many have crossed Sudan’s borders into neighboring countries, primarily Chad, South Sudan, and Ethiopia. Without a resolution to the crisis, hundreds of thousands more will be compelled to seek refuge and basic assistance elsewhere.

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