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Sudan: as millions face famine, humanitarians plead for aid access

In a somber assessment of the dire situation in Sudan, where conflict is entering its second year, the heads of 19 global humanitarian organizations warned that further obstacles to aid delivery “Rapid and large-scale” aid would mean “more people will die”.

United Nations Aid Coordination Office OCHA Spokesman Jens Laerke told reporters in Geneva that famine “will likely occur in many parts of the country, many people will flee to neighboring countries, children will succumb to disease and malnutrition, and women and girls will face greater suffering and dangers.”

The staggering scale of the famine

An OCHA spokesperson said about 18 million people in the country are severely hungry and 3.6 million children are severely malnourished.

Mr. Laerke emphasized that these children are in serious danger because “they are 10 to 11 times more likely to die” than children who have enough to eat.

According to a joint statement by humanitarian agencies, despite rising needs, aid workers continue to face “systematic obstacles and deliberate denial of access by all parties involved in the conflict.” conflict”.

Too dangerous to visit

Mr. Laerke emphasized that “movements across conflict lines to the areas of Khartoum, Darfur, Aj Jazirah and Kordofan have been cut off since mid-December” and that in March and April this year, nearly 860,000 who have been denied humanitarian aid in these areas.

Aid delivery conditions are “very poor and dangerous,” he added, stressing that aid workers are being killed, injured and harassed, while humanitarian aid has been looted. break.

Additionally, the closure of the Adré border crossing from Chad to western Darfur in February reduced aid delivery in Darfur to a “trickle” level.

Darfur is successful

In a more positive development last week, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) truck entered Sudan from Chad through the Tine border crossing. The agency reports that 1,200 tons of food to feed about 116,000 people is being transported across the Darfur region.

On Friday, WFP Sudan’s Leni Kinzli confirmed that convoys bound for Central Darfur (Umshalaya and Rongatas) had arrived at their final destinations, while convoys headed to 12 destinations in South Darfur, including migrant camps. relocated in Nyala, still in transit.

Meanwhile, Mr. Laerke warned that in North Darfur’s capital El Fasher, where fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) opponents have recently increased, about 800,000 civilians are preparing for an “imminent, large-scale attack.” ”.

Attacked from all sides

On Thursday, the top United Nations aid official in the country Clementine Nkweta-Salami warning that civilians are “under attack from all sides”.

She said that medical facilities, displacement camps and important civil infrastructure are in El Fryer; North Darfur state was targeted by the conflicting parties, while parts of the city lost power and water.

In a joint statement, the heads of humanitarian agencies called on the warring parties to protect civilians, facilitate humanitarian access and impose a nationwide ceasefire.

Referring to Sudan’s two main warring parties, SAF and RSF, Mr. Laerke said: “We want these generals to find a way to resolve their differences, not through violence that kills, maims, and rapes hundreds of thousands of people in Sudan.But let’s do it another way.”

Concerned about low funding levels for the crisis, humanitarian organizations also called on donors to urgently disburse commitments made at the International Humanitarian Conference for Sudan and neighboring countries in Paris. on April 15.

Nearly 5 months into the year, the humanitarian appeal for Sudan with a total of 2.7 billion USD is still only 16% funded.


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