Humanitarian Crisis Deepens in Sudan as Conflict Rages On

The situation in Sudan is rapidly deteriorating, with the United Nations warning that half of the country’s population, approximately 25 million people, are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance as famine and disease outbreaks loom, Anadolu Agency reported yesterday.

The ongoing conflict between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, which erupted in April 2023, has already claimed the lives of more than 15,000 people and displaced many more. At the heart of the crisis is the unresolved issue of integrating the RSF into the armed forces, a central cause of the tensions.

“In Sudan, half of the population, 25 million people, need humanitarian aid. Famine is closing in. Diseases are closing in. The fighting is closing in on civilians, especially in Darfur,” said Jens Laerke, the spokesperson for the UN humanitarian office, during a briefing in Geneva.

The UN’s overall response plan aims to reach and support 15 million of the worst-affected people, but the appeal for $2.7 billion in funding has received only 12% of the required amount. “This is not just an underfunded appeal; it is a catastrophically underfunded appeal,” Laerke warned, adding that without more resources, humanitarian organizations will be unable to scale up their efforts in time to avert famine and further deprivation.

The situation is further exacerbated by the spread of multiple disease outbreaks, such as cholera, measles, dengue fever, and malaria, across two-thirds of Sudan’s 18 states. Shible Sahbani, the World Health Organization’s representative to Sudan, warned that the approaching rainy season will only worsen the crisis, as people living in makeshift shelters become more exposed to the elements.

The UN human rights office has also expressed grave concern over the escalating violence in Darfur, where at least 58 civilians have been killed and 213 others injured in the town of El-Fasher since fighting intensified last week.

The UN human rights chief, Volker Turk, has urged both sides to redouble their efforts towards a negotiated solution, warning of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences if the violence continues.

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