Sudan | “One of the worst humanitarian disasters in recent memory”, says the UN

(United Nations) Sudan, where famine looms after nearly a year of war, is suffering “one of the worst humanitarian disasters” in recent history, a UN official warned on Wednesday, denouncing the lack of action of the international community.

“From every point of view, the scale of the humanitarian needs, the number of people displaced and threatened by hunger, Sudan is one of the worst humanitarian disasters in recent memory,” Edem Wosornu told the Security Council, on behalf of the head of the UN Office of Humanitarian Operations (OCHA) Martin Griffiths.

“A humanitarian travesty is playing out in Sudan, behind a veil of international inattention and inaction. To put it simply, we are failing the Sudanese people,” she denounced, describing the “despair” of the population.

The fighting, which has raged since April 15, 2023 between the army of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane and the Rapid Support Forces (FSR, paramilitary) of General Mohammed Hamdane Daglo, former number two in power, has killed thousands of dead and more than eight million displaced, according to the UN.

The Security Council called in early March for an “immediate” ceasefire during Ramadan and unhindered access to humanitarian aid.

But “since then, I am sorry to say that there has been no major progress on the ground,” lamented Edem Wosornu.

The United States subsequently announced new humanitarian aid of $47 million.

These funds will go to neighboring countries of Sudan, including Chad and South Sudan, to help them welcome Sudanese refugees, said American diplomat Julieta Valls Noyes during a meeting with the Chadian prime minister.

In total, nearly 18 million Sudanese face severe food insecurity (phase 3 and above of the IPC food insecurity classification scale of 5), a record figure during the harvest period and 10 million more than at the same time last year. And 730,000 children suffer from acute malnutrition.

In a memo seen by AFP and sent to the Council last week, Martin Griffiths warned that 5 million Sudanese “could slide into catastrophic food insecurity in parts of the country in the coming months”.

“If we want to prevent Sudan from becoming the worst food crisis in the world, coordinated efforts (…) are urgent and essential,” insisted Wednesday the deputy director of the World Food Program Carl Skau, emphasizing the “high risk” of seeing of Sudanese move into IPC phase 5 (starvation) with the arrival of the “lean season” in May.

Malnutrition “is already costing the lives of children,” denounced Edem Wosornu.

And “our humanitarian partners estimate that in the coming weeks or months, some 222,000 children could die of malnutrition,” she insisted, also mentioning the risk for weakened children of dying from preventable diseases, while more than 70 % of health establishments are no longer functioning.


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