The United Nations on Wednesday urged countries not to forget millions of people caught up in the war between rival militaries in Sudan, as it called for $4.1 billion to help stave off famine and help those who have fled into neighbouring countries.
“Half of Sudan’s population, 25 million people, needs humanitarian assistance,” Martin Griffiths, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, told journalists in Geneva.
He emphasized that far too many of those in need were children, and that 18 million people were acutely food insecure, amid one of the world’s largest displacement and protection crises.
The appeal comprises two key components: the $2.7 billion Humanitarian Needs and Response Plan, targeting 14.7 million people within Sudan, and the $1.4 billion Regional Refugee Response Plan, aimed at assisting 2.7 million people in five countries surrounding Sudan.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) will manage the response in Sudan, while the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) will lead the regional initiative.
The escalating conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has expanded to critical regions, including Gezira state, the nation’s breadbasket, heightening concerns of famine.
“If we start seeing famine in Sudan – and it won’t be the first time we’ve seen famine in Sudan – to add to the violence, displacement and lack of a political horizon, then I think we can all agree we have no humanity in us that would allow this to happen,” Mr. Griffiths said.
Recent assessments reveal that two out of three Sudanese lack access to healthcare, with approximately 19 million children out of school.
Since the conflict erupted last April, over 13,000 people are feared to have been killed and over 10 million driven from their homes.
Far reaching implications
UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi, sharing insights from a recent meeting with displaced families in Sudan and Ethiopia, underscored the regional consequences of neglecting the crisis as people who have already fled Sudan now aim for Libya, Tunisia and then Europe.
“I have warned literally European countries that if the current neglect of this crisis continues, we will see secondary movements, as we call them,” Mr. Grandi said.
The UNHCR chief described how Sudan’s middle class has been largely impacted by the urban devastation, people whose lives were upended from one day to the next.
No home to go to
Although they are eager to go back home and resume their activities, people are becoming more and more wary, the High Commissioner for Refugees said: “When you ask people, ‘Would you go back if there was a ceasefire?’, they think carefully about the answer, ‘We would have to be convinced that there is a real peace and that the militia is not going to come into our house and kick us out again’.”
“The message that I passed and will continue to pass to the two [military] leaderships is – You’re losing your own people. What’s the purpose of fighting if you don’t have people to rule?” Mr. Grandi added.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN News.