A bloody conflict has been raging in Sudan for ten months. Almost eight million people are on the run. The United Nations now wants to present the financial requirements for aid measures.
In Sudan, government troops and the RSF militia have been fighting for power in the northeast African country since April last year. The conflict has now forced almost eight million people to flee – according to the United Nations (UN), it is now the largest refugee movement in the world. Today in Geneva the UN wants to present its aid plans for the conflict and the financial requirements for it. Last year, the UN-coordinated plans totaled $2.6 billion (2.4 billion euros). However, only around 43 percent of these came together.
More than half of the population needs help
According to the UN emergency agency OCHA, 25 million people in Sudan – more than half of the population – are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection. This includes 14 million children and young people. Countless people are already acutely malnourished. The predominantly poor neighboring countries, which have taken in more than 1.5 million refugees, also needed support. The UN organizations and their partners want to reach almost 15 million people in the country itself. The UN refugee agency UNHCR wants to support a total of 2.7 million people in the neighboring countries of Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Sudan.
High mortality in refugee camps in Darfur
The situation is particularly dramatic in the Darfur region: The aid organization “Doctors Without Borders” reported a catastrophic situation in the Samsam refugee camp in North Darfur. The emergency threshold for malnutrition has been reached and the mortality rate is very high, the organization recently warned. Acute malnutrition was found in almost a quarter of the children examined; in small children the proportion was as high as 40 percent. “We estimate that at least one child dies in the camp every two hours; our current estimate is that it is 13 children a day,” said Claire Nicolet, MSF’s emergency relief director in Sudan.
Fighting makes it difficult to help
Aid organizations and the World Food Program (WFP) complain about the sometimes impossible access to people in need. Due to the security situation, WFP food shipments to Darfur can only be carried out via the neighboring country of Chad and, due to a lack of fuel, only reach a limited part of the extensive region. WFP Country Director Eddie Rowe assumes that only a tenth of people particularly affected by hunger receive regular assistance. “Life-saving aid is not reaching those who need it most and we are receiving reports of people dying of hunger,” Rowe warned a few days ago.
There is also a threat of locust plagues
To make matters worse, there is now a threat of a plague of locusts. Because of the fighting, not enough was being done to contain it, reported the UN agricultural organization FAO. Precipitation in winter favored breeding. In addition, swarms of locusts from neighboring countries were now threatening the harvests and growing areas. The FAO has helped to contain the locusts on 23,000 hectares of land, but it is not enough. “The situation is critical,” said Adam Yao of the FAO team in Port Sudan.
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