The World Food Programme (WFP) described the situation in Sudan as catastrophic, noting that some 18 million people across the country are currently facing acute hunger, despite WFP’s efforts to provide food assistance to millions of people since the outbreak of the war.
WFP warned of a looming hunger catastrophe in Sudan, stressing the need for people to have immediate access to humanitarian assistance to prevent the crisis from becoming a disaster. “Shockingly, the number of hungry people has more than doubled from last year, and an estimated five million people are experiencing emergency levels of acute hunger (IPC Phase 4) due to conflict in areas such as Khartoum, Darfur and Kordofan,” he said.
This comes as the United Nations prepares to launch two humanitarian response plans for Sudan – one for internally displaced people and one for refugees in neighbouring countries – next week – February 7 – OCHA spokesperson Jans Larquet told reporters in Geneva on Friday.
The logistical backbone of Sudan’s humanitarian response, WFP has ramped up life-saving assistance in response to the worsening crisis, helping more than 6.5 million people since the war began.
To reach families in Darfur, WFP has established a cross-border route from Chad, through which more than a million people have received food assistance. Other agencies have also used this route to provide much-needed support.
Crossing has become impossible
However, WFP is currently able to provide regular food assistance to only one in 10 people facing emergency levels of acute hunger in Sudan. Humanitarian convoys must be allowed to cross frontlines in order to reach those trapped in conflict hotspots – including Khartoum, Darfur, Kordofan and, now Al Jazeera.
However, it has become nearly impossible for aid agencies to cross due to security threats, roadblocks, and demands for fees and taxes.
Eddie Rowe, WFP Representative in Sudan, said: “The situation in Sudan today is nothing less than catastrophic. Millions of people are affected by the conflict. “WFP has food in Sudan, but the inability to deliver aid and other unnecessary obstacles are slowing operations and preventing us from delivering vital assistance to people who need our support most.”
He called on both sides in the conflict to look beyond the battlefield and allow aid organizations to operate.
Sudan must not be forgotten
Speaking from Nairobi via video link to reporters in Geneva, Lenny Kenzli, WFP’s information officer in Sudan, stressed the need not to forget the conflict there.
Some 3.6 million children under the age of five are acutely malnourished, she said, warning that the lack of access to the worst-affected areas has made it impossible to verify the numbers of children suffering from hunger.
The UN stressed that humanitarian ceasefires, humanitarian access to those in need, and respect for international humanitarian law are all desperately needed in Sudan.
Commissioner for Refugees visits Sudan
Meanwhile, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi arrived in Sudan on Friday for a visit aimed at highlighting the plight of millions of displaced Sudanese, as well as refugees hosted by Sudan, “all of whom are caught up in a brutal and worsening war that most of the world seems to ignore.”
In a post on the X website, Grandi stressed that the people of Sudan need our support and solidarity. In Port Sudan, Grandi spoke with people displaced by fighting across the country. “They told me how war suddenly disrupted their peaceful lives. and how they are losing hope for themselves and their children.”
Only a ceasefire and serious peace talks can end this tragedy, Grandi said.
Prior to Sudan, the High Commissioner visited Ethiopia where he was briefed on the efforts of the Government of Ethiopia, with the support of UNHCR and its partners, to assist Sudanese refugees who had recently arrived in the country.
Grandi travelled to Asusa, in the Beni Shangul-Gumuz region, where he met some of the more than 20,000 refugees and asylum-seekers currently being hosted at the Karmok Temporary Reception Centre.
Since April 2023, more than 100,000 people have crossed into Ethiopia from Sudan, including some 47,000 refugees and asylum-seekers. They join some 50,000 Sudanese refugees who arrived in the country before them.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN News.