Local security conflict Event icon
Event title

Sudan - Sudan faces 'perfect storm' as civil war sparks humanitarian crisis, aid groups warn

Event category

Social incident - Local security conflict

Event date (UTC)

2024-02-23 19:21:31

Last update (UTC)

2024-04-15 06:51:07

Severity

High

Latitude

15.64399

Longitude

32.50668

Area range

Country wide event

Address/Affected area(s)

Sudan

The conflict has left about 25 million in need of humanitarian assistance.After a missile struck her home in Khartoum, Sudan, last April, Dallia Mohamed Abdelmoniem said she was forced to flee and has not been back since."I literally packed for a week thinking I'll come back, you know, we'll be coming back home," Abdelmoniem, a journalist-turned-activist who is currently based in Egypt, told ABC News.She added, "I have no idea if my house is still standing or not." Her century-deep roots in Sudan were ripped from the ground last year during the outbreak of the civil war, she said, scattering her family across the globe. "We have no family in Sudan anymore," Abdelmoniem said.A humanitarian "perfect storm" is brewing in Sudan as hunger looms, health systems collapse and millions are displaced, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned last week in a briefing.Just over 10 months since the start of the conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces Paramilitary group (RSF), aid organizations say Sudan is being plunged into a "humanitarian crisis of epic proportions.""Sudan is now one of the largest displacement crises globally, with nearly 8 million people displaced due to the ongoing conflict," Peter Graaf, the WHO's representative to Sudan, said in last week's briefing. "About 25 million people in Sudan need humanitarian assistance, 18 million of whom are facing acute hunger – 5 million at emergency levels of hunger."The conflict, which erupted on April 15, 2023, between the Rapid Support Forces Paramilitary group (RSF) and the Sudanese Army (SAF) after weeks of tensions linked to a plan for returning the country to civilian rule after the dissolution of Sudan's government, has killed at least 12,000 people according to the U.N.Local groups, however, say the true toll is likely much higher.Speaking to ABC News over the phone, Dr. Arif Noor, Save the Children's country director for Sudan, says the impact of the war on Sudan has been "devastating." Noor said, "Almost 50 percent if not more of the nation is witnessing active conflict. There have been indiscriminate attacks on hospitals, schools, and public services, irregular water and electricity access, and large-scale internet blackouts."Niemat Amhadi, a Sudanese activist based in Washington, D.C., told ABC News during she did not speak to her family in Sudan for six months during the country's first communicate blockade.Since the conflict broke out, the two warring factions have utilized internet shutdowns to block communication in areas controlled by the opposing side, activists say. A major communication blockade has currently been in place for the past two weeks, sources told ABC News.
Ahmadi, who survived the early-2000s Darfuri genocide, said the current conflict in comparison "is the worst in our lifetime," citing not only these communication blockades, but also aid blockades.Ahmadi told ABC News that "both sides are using humanitarian aid as a tool also to control people's survival," by preventing necessary aid from reaching those it is intended for."The health system is on the brink of collapse if not already collapsed in some areas," added Noor. "And women and children especially are facing the brunt."The outbreak of the conflict has led to the displacement of nearly 3 million children, in addition to 2 million displaced in previous crises in Sudan, leading to the 'world's largest internal displacement crisis for children,' UNICEF said.While the needs of the ravaged nation continue to mount and organizations persist in sounding alarms calling to address them, funding for the crisis is not adequately flowing, UNICEF spokesperson James Elder said in a February press briefing."Despite the magnitude of needs, last year, the funding UNICEF sought for nearly three-quarters of children was not forthcoming," Elder stated.UNICEF has been appealing for $840 million to provide multi-intervention humanitarian assistance to Sudanese families since last year.Abdelmoniem also lamented the lack of funding. "It's not even a trickle, I wouldn't even call it a trickle. It's bread crumbs. I don't know what it is, but no, there's no money coming in whatsoever," she told ABC News.Elder, in his briefing, also urged the public to consider the generational repercussions of the crisis."The true cost of war isn't just measured in casualties but also in the loss of intellectual capital, and this war risks condemning Sudan to a future bereft of learning, innovation, progress, and hope," he advised.Abdelmoniem agreed, telling ABC News, "A lot of the youth, those who are under the age of 30, in their life they've seen nothing but war and destruction. How can you guarantee for them that, you know what, there's a future here?"The Sudanese Armed Forces last week announced it had regained control of the city of Omdurman from the Rapid Support Forces following intense fighting in its first major advance since the onset of the war.But fighting between the RSF and SAF continues, with clashes between the two sides in Sudan's capital Khartoum, West, North and Central Darfur, Kordofan as well as Sudan's breadbasket state, Al Jazirah.As the war approaches its one-year anniversary, Noor tells ABC the nation is in "dire need for peace" as the State Department calls on parties to abide by their responsibility to protect civilians and humanitarian staff.In a statement, a State Department spokesperson told ABC News: "We urge SAF General Burhan and RSF General Hemedti to hold those responsible for attacks on civilians to account, and to abide by their IGAD summit commitments of an unconditional ceasefire and a face-to-face meeting between them."The spokesperson added, "All parties to the conflict have a responsibility to protect civilians and humanitarian staff, who are risking their lives to help people in need. Any interference or theft of humanitarian goods is unacceptable and keeps lifesaving aid from reaching those that need it most."

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