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Sudan hunger spreads to capital and former breadbasket

June 27, 2024

A United Nations report has found that severe food shortages have spread to 14 regions across Sudan, including previously unaffected areas. More than half of the country's population faces "crisis or worse" conditions.

People line up to register for a potential food aid delivery at a camp for internally displaced persons (IDP) in Agari, South Kordofan, on June 17, 2024.
The UN has accused both fighting parties of using starvation as a war weaponImage: Guy Peterson/AFP

A United Nations report on Thursday said some 8.5 million people were facing extreme food shortage in Sudan after 14 months of conflict.

The document said hunger has now spread to the capital, Khartoum, and Jazira province, which was once dubbed Sudan's breadbasket.

What the study shows

The findings come from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) initiative, which includes more than a dozen UN agencies, aid groups, governments and other bodies.

It found that 755,000 people face the worst level of starvation, known as Phase 5 by the IPC, in the coming months in 10 provinces, which also include Darfur, Kordofan, and the Blue Nile province.

"The conflict has not only triggered mass displacement and disruption of supply routes, market systems and agricultural production, it has also severely limited access to essential humanitarian assistance, exacerbating an already dire situation," the report said.

Another 8.5 million people are classified in the second-highest starvation level, Phase 4.

The northeastern African country was thrown into chaos in April last year after tensions between the country's military, led by Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and a notorious paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), flared up.

Sudan civil war displaces millions

The Sudanese Civil War has also created the world's largest displacement crisis, with more than 11 million people forced to abandon their homes.

It has killed more than 14,000 people and wounded 33,000 others, with UN human rights experts working for the United Nations saying both warring sides have used food and starvation as a weapon.

Whole country threatened

Top UN officials say the conflict has generated a hunger catastrophe at a scale that has not been seen since the Darfur conflict in the early 2000s.

However, unlike that period of violence, the current fighting impacts the whole country, and threatens to destabilize the whole Horn of Africa region, said head of the World Food Program Cindy McCain.

"We urgently need a massive expansion of humanitarian access and funding so we can scale up our relief operations, and halt Sudan's slide into a humanitarian catastrophe," she said.

The IPC report said a total of 25.6 million people, more than half of the country's 47 million population, face "crisis or worse conditions" between now and September.

rc/rmt (AP, Reuters)