HomeTop StoriesFighting has plunged Sudan into humanitarian catastrophe, senior UN officials say

Fighting has plunged Sudan into humanitarian catastrophe, senior UN officials say

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The conflict in Sudan has left 24 million people – half the country’s population – in need of food and other assistance, but only 2.5 million have received aid due to vicious fighting and a lack of funding, two senior UN officials said Friday.

Eden Worsornu, Director of Operations of the UN Humanitarian Aid Agency, and Ted Chaiban, Deputy Executive Director of the UN Children’s Organization UNICEF, who have just returned from Sudan, painted a bleak picture of devastation and unrest in Sudan, with no peace talks taking place. be in sight.

Worsornu said hotspots, such as the capital of Khartoum and the southern Kordofan and western regions of Darfur, “have been devastated by relentless violence.” Nearly 4 million people have fled the fighting, facing scorching heat of up to 48 degrees Celsius (118 F) and threats of attacks, sexual assault and death, she said.

The conflict, now nearly four months in the making, has killed more than 3,000 people and injured more than 6,000 others, according to the latest government figures released in June. But the real number is likely much higher, doctors and activists say.

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“Before war broke out on April 15, Sudan was already struggling with a humanitarian crisis,” Chaiban said. “Now more than 110 days of relentless fighting have turned the crisis into a catastrophe, threatening the lives and futures of a generation of children and youth who make up more than 70% of the population.”

The forces loyal to the top army, General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, are facing off against his rival, General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

Worsornu and Chaiban, who previously worked in Sudan, said communal violence has returned to Darfur, where attacks two decades ago by the notorious Janjaweed Arab militias against people of Central or East African ethnicity became synonymous with genocide and war crimes.

Now “it’s worse than in 2004,” Worsornu said.

The statistics are bleak: 24 million people need food and other humanitarian assistance, including 14 million children, a number equal to every child in Colombia, France, Germany and Thailand, Chaiban said.

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The UN has tried to get aid for 18 million Sudanese, but 93 of its humanitarian partners were only able to reach 2.5 million between April and June due to heavy fighting and difficulties reaching those in need.

“Right now, Sudan is one of the most dangerous places to operate,” Chaiban said. “So to mobilize 2.5 million people, 780 trucks and negotiate to get in was no small feat.”

Worsornu said 18 aid workers have died in Sudan so far.

But, she added, “Humanitarian aid is just a Band-Aid. Basic social services have been completely broken down, banking systems are not working and schools have collapsed.”

After the conflict broke out, the UN increased its humanitarian appeal to $2.6 billion. Woorsornu said the appeal received only $625 million, barely 25%. “We can’t do anything without money,” she says.

Chaiban said 3 million children under age 5 are malnourished, “with 700,000 at risk of severe acute malnutrition and death.” He said UNICEF has received life-saving treatment for up to 107,000, but that’s only about 15% of those who need it.

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Sudan borders seven countries — the Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Libya and Egypt — and most of them would be vulnerable to unrest if the conflict spilled over.

“We must be careful that if the situation in Sudan is not brought under control, it will have a devastating impact on the region,” Worsornu said.

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