Sudan is currently experiencing “epic suffering,” according to the United Nations (UN), as conflict between rival military factions since April has led to the world’s largest internal displacement crisis and raised concerns about the potential collapse of the state. The UN has appealed for $4.1 billion (£3.25 billion) to address humanitarian needs, with the World Food Programme warning that people in areas cut off by fighting are starving to death.
Médecins Sans Frontières reports that in a single camp in the North Darfur region, a child is succumbing to malnutrition every two hours, describing the situation as “absolutely catastrophic.” The war between the Sudanese armed forces and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has severely impacted Sudan’s economy, with half of the 50 million population requiring food assistance and nearly 11 million people displaced, including 1.7 million who have sought refuge in neighboring countries facing their own internal crises.
The UN Refugee Commissioner, Filippo Grandi, who recently visited Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia, emphasized their plea for peace and support to rebuild their lives, urging the international community to increase assistance for the people of Sudan. The death toll from the 10 months of fighting is unknown, but a leaked UN report suggests between 10,000 and 15,000 were killed in a single town in West Darfur, where RSF fighters and allied militias are accused of targeted killings. There are concerns about a recurrence of the 2003 genocide by the Janjaweed, the RSF’s precursor.
The RSF seems to be gaining ground, solidifying control in Darfur and expanding into new areas of east and north Sudan. Efforts by regional powers, the US, and Saudi Arabia to mediate a peaceful resolution have been unsuccessful. The conflict has damaged Sudan’s water supply and crippled three-quarters of its health facilities, resulting in a surge of diseases such as measles, malaria, and cholera.
The UN’s relief chief, Martin Griffiths, has called on donors to provide funds to address the escalating humanitarian needs, emphasizing that ten months of conflict have stripped the people of Sudan of safety, homes, and livelihoods. Last year, the UN requested $2.5 billion for Sudan but received only 43% of that amount, contributing to a broader crisis in humanitarian funding, leading to operational pauses and reduced food rations in several countries.