Over 25 million in Sudan need aid amid ongoing war, says UN

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

In Sudan, a war that has raged on for over a month continues to escalate, with the UN reporting that more than half the country’s population now is in need of aid. Ramesh Rajasingham, head of the UN humanitarian agency’s Geneva bureau, stated that 25 million people in Sudan need humanitarian assistance and protection.

This is the highest number ever recorded in the country, where one in three already relied on aid before the war and millions had been displaced by previous conflicts.

Approximately 1,000 people have been killed, mainly in and around Khartoum, as well as in the long-troubled western region of Darfur. Over one million others have been displaced by the battles between army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who leads the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Analysts claim that neither side has been able to gain a significant advantage on the battlefield.

“Petrol is not available now and the price has increased on the black market. People can’t transport their vegetables,” said Abu Bakr Abdullah, a 27 year old farmer in River Nile state. Qamar al-Bashir, a 52 year old farmer, expressed frustration over the lack of progress since the overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir four years ago.

Last Thursday, the warring sides signed a commitment in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to respect humanitarian principles and allow in much-needed aid. However, reports of attacks continued. Toby Harward, of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), described an “extremely disturbing” situation in El Geneina, the West Darfur capital, with hundreds of civilians killed in militia attacks on residential areas and street battles between “community-aligned forces”.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) condemned the looting of aid organisations after armed men raided its Khartoum warehouse on Tuesday. In Khartoum North, a factory that produced food to treat malnourished children was burned down, according to the UN Children’s Fund. Despite these challenges, the World Food Programme is distributing food in some Darfur states and other parts of the country in a “rapidly scaling up” of emergency operations.

The UN estimates that $2.56 billion will be required to provide assistance for 18 million people inside Sudan, with an additional $470.4 million needed to help those fleeing the country. Over 840,000 people are already displaced within Sudan, and at least 220,000 have crossed borders to escape the conflict. “The crisis in Sudan is rapidly evolving into a regional crisis,” warned Rajasingham.

Sudan’s war is expected to be a major agenda item during the Arab League summit on Friday in Saudi Arabia, where an envoy of Burhan will represent the country. Heavyweights in the pan-Arab bloc are divided on Sudan, with Egypt supporting Burhan and the United Arab Emirates, according to experts, seen to be backing the RSF. Yesterday, Kenyan President William Ruto called for a rethink of the African Union’s approach to conflicts in the continent and urged the warring generals to “stop the nonsense.”

World News


With a Bachelor's Degree in English, Jenn has plenty of experience writing and editing on different topics. After spending many years teaching English in Thailand, Jenn has come to love writing about Thai culture and the experience of being an ex-pat in Thailand. During long holidays, she travels to North of Thailand just to have Khao Soi!

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