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Sudan: 5 million at risk of starvation due to war, UN says

March 16, 2024

The conflict between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces militia has decimated the country's ability to feed itself and prevented humanitarian aid from reaching those who need it most.

Sudanese women holding their young children
Nearly 730,000 children in Sudan suffer from malnutrition due to the ongoing conflictImage: Mohamed Zakaria//MSF/REUTERS

Some 5 million people in Sudan could face "catastrophic food insecurity" in the coming months as fighting continues between rival generals, according to UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths.

The conflict between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces militia has had a severe impact on agricultural production, disrupted trade, caused price increases and impeded the flow of humanitarian aid, he said.

"Without urgent humanitarian assistance and access to basic commodities ... almost 5 million people could slip into catastrophic food insecurity in some parts of the country in the coming months," Griffiths wrote in a note to the UN Security Council on Friday.

UN calls for 'unimpeded' humanitarian access

The United Nations has called for unimpeded access to areas affected by the civil war.

"Aid organizations require safe, rapid, sustained and unimpeded access — including across conflict lines within Sudan," UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Friday.

"A massive mobilization of resources from the international community is also critical," he added.

Forgotten war: Stories of survival in Sudan

Jill Lawler, the emergency chief in Sudan for the UN children's agency UNICEF, said there were enough aid stocks in Port Sudan, but the problem was getting the aid from there to the people in need.

Nearly 730,000 Sudanese children are thought to suffer from severe malnutrition, Griffiths said, including more than 240,000 in the remote region of Darfur.

The UN's World Food Program has warned that the war risks "triggering the world's largest hunger crisis."

zc/sri (AFP, Reuters)