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Conflict in Sudan places millions at risk of acute food insecurity and malnutrition

It has been one year since the start of the latest conflict in Sudan. The conflict has created the world’s largest displacement crisis. According to the United Nations, over 8.5 million people have been forced to leave their homes in search of safety within and outside Sudan due to the conflict. After having already endured years of protracted crisis in the country, the Sudanese people now face much greater threats to their safety and security, housing, water, food, essential health infrastructure and education. Sexual and gender-based violence is dramatically on the rise and families are being ripped apart.

A lack of humanitarian access to the most vulnerable people has placed millions at risk of sliding into emergency levels of acute food insecurity. Nearly 18 million people across Sudan – or almost one in three Sudanese – are currently facing the risk of malnutrition.

As hunger spreads, countless more people are likely to flee starvation. Humanitarian organisations have now started to observe hunger-induced displacement in neighbouring countries. Almost 2 million people have already crossed borders in a desperate need for protection and assistance. These people have fled to Chad, South Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia and the Central African Republic which are some of the world’s poorest and fragile countries. In Chad, which is currently hosting more than half of all Sudanese refugees in the region, the government declared a state emergency in terms of food and nutrition on 15 February 2024 and forecasts suggest that more than 3 million people there will face acute food insecurity this year. Almost 500,000 South Sudanese who had previously fled conflict and moved to Sudan have had no choice but to return, placing enormous strain on the pre-existing displacement crisis in South Sudan. What is at stake today is an entire region, from the Red Sea to the Sahel.

Trócaire has been supporting partner organisations in Sudan working to alleviate the suffering of communities caught up in this humanitarian catastrophe and we will continue to do so. In the past year our partners reached over 430,000 people with vital support including health and nutrition services, cash, food and livelihoods support.

But action at the highest levels needs to be taken now if there is to be any hope of averting disaster on an unimaginable scale.

While Trócaire welcomes the fact that Ireland has committed €12.3 million in 2024 to the humanitarian effort in Sudan and neighbouring countries at the International Humanitarian Conference for Sudan in Paris this week, Trócaire is joining other NGOs in calling for more urgent action on the increasing levels of conflict and conflict-induced hunger faced by the people of Sudan. Strong diplomatic action is needed to protect civilians and unhindered humanitarian access through all available entry points needs to be facilitated immediately.

To protect civilians and prevent catastrophic hunger:

  • We urge all parties to the conflict to take immediate measures to prevent the escalation of the hunger crisis in Sudan.
  • We call on the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces to abide by their promises set out in the Jeddah Declaration of Commitment to Protect the Civilians of Sudan.
  • We call on the international community to step up diplomatic advocacy on the protection of civilians alongside efforts to secure a ceasefire.
  • We call on the international community to urgently increase flexible funding for the humanitarian response in Sudan and acknowledge and support the critical role of local responders and mutual aid initiatives in Sudan.
  • We urge the international community and all parties to the conflict including the Sudanese authorities to ease undue bureaucratic or administrative impediments to humanitarian assistance.
  • We call on the UN Security Council to uphold its commitments under the Women Peace and Security Agenda to take action to prevent conflict-related sexual violence that is widespread across Sudan.
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