UN relief chief urges end to ‘humanitarian nightmare’ in Sudan

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Up to 9,000 people have been reportedly killed, more than 5.6 million driven from their homes and 25 million people need aid, because of the conflict that erupted in mid-April between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and other armed groups. 

In a statement marking the grim milestone, Martin Griffiths, who is also the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affair, noted that for half a year, civilians – particularly in Khartoum, Darfur and Kordofan – “have known no respite from bloodshed and terror”, with horrific reports of rape and sexual violence emerging continuously. 

Basic services crumbling

With the number of ethnic clashes increasing, access of aid workers to the people in need is hindered due to lack of security and bureaucratic barriers, explained the Under-Secretary-General.

“At least 45 aid workers have been killed or detained since 15 April – almost all of them are national staff,” he lamented. 

However, even in those areas that humanitarians can access, they are “hamstrung by underfunding”. Only 33 per cent of the $2.6 billion required to help those in need in Sudan in 2023 has been received.

The healthcare situation in Sudan is dire: as more than 70 per cent of health care facilities in conflict areas are out of service, cholera is already stalking the country, with more than 1,000 suspected cases. 

Basic services are crumbling. The conflict has kept 19 million children are out of school, significantly setting back their education and the country’s future.

‘This cannot go on’

As communities are torn apart, vulnerable people have no access to life-saving aid. Humanitarian needs are mounting in the neighbouring countries where millions have fled.

“This cannot go on,” the UN relief chief said, appealing to the conflict parties. He urged them to uphold obligations under international humanitarian law and to recommit to dialogue at the highest levels to end this conflict.

He stressed that the time had come for them to honour the commitments made in Jeddah to protect civilians and allow humanitarian aid.

“The international community cannot desert the people of Sudan,” underscored Mr. Griffiths requesting also the donors to step up their support. 



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