• Port Sudan

  • Saturday, December 16, 2023 at 8:43 AM
    Last Update : Saturday, December 16, 2023 at 8:43 AM

Increase in Hunger in Sudan Brings UN Warnings of "Catastrophic Situation"

(AWP) - Alongside many other displaced Sudanese women and children, Rofaida Saleh must wait in a long queue for the only meal of the day provided by a shelter centre in Port Sudan, the capital of the Red Sea state in the east of the country.

Saleh had to flee the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, after fighting broke out between the army and the Rapid Support Forces nearly eight months ago. She and her four children suffer harsh living conditions due to the severe shortage of food and water in the centre.

"There is no lunch or dinner; it is one meal a day. The children scream for food, but where can I get it from? Sometimes we buy water, and sometimes we cannot buy it because of the lack of money. Sometimes we cannot shower or wash clothes for more than a week. Seriously, we are tired,” she said.

“I hope that aid organisations will help us, whether they are inside or outside of Sudan. All the sisters here, we are all displaced people. We are very tired, and I hope that aid organisations, if they can hear me, we are seriously tired, our children are dirty, our food is not good, and the bread is not enough,” she added.

The United Nations has warned of a hunger disaster in Sudan due the ongoing civil war that began in April.

The UN stressed the need for a truce that would enable the unrestricted delivery of food and aid to about five million people in areas that are still witnessing heavy clashes.

In a statement, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) revealed that people in Khartoum, Kordofan and Darfur face a "worsening hunger crisis that threatens catastrophic conditions" by the dry season next May, due to the low yields of this year’s crops.

According to Sofie Karlsson, the Spokesperson of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Sudan (OCHA), the situation in Sudan has rapidly worsened since the beginning of the war, leaving nearly 18 million people facing a threat of severe hunger: ”since the outbreak of war in April this year, the overall humanitarian situation has become very bad, with nearly 25 million people in need of assistance. This is almost half of Sudan’s population. Of these, 6.7 million people have been displaced from their homes due to conflict—and that was just in the last eight months. 17.7 million people need food assistance. There are 17.7 million people suffering from hunger in Sudan, and of those, five million have urgent hunger needs,” she added.

Karlsson indicated that funding for humanitarian aid provided by the United Nations has not exceeded 45% of what is required, and that the World Food Programme needs $250 million to provide urgent aid in Sudan during the next six months, including $75 million to support food and agricultural activities.

The World Food Programme announced the provision of humanitarian aid to about five million people in northern and eastern Sudan, but relief teams have only been able to reach the besieged residents in Khartoum once during the past three months.

The WFP also warned that the continuing crisis could mean the loss of the one meal that displaced Sudanese struggle to obtain each day.