The UN and the crisis in Sudan

8.1 million
displaced by conflict since 15 April 2023
reportedly killed
24.8 million
People in need of assistance in 2024

What is the crisis about?

On 15 April 15, 2023, the fighting erupted between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The armed conflict is affecting millions of lives in Sudan and causing mass displacement, food insecurity and education challenges that require immediate humanitarian help.

Right now, Sudan is experiencing a humanitarian catastrophe with over 25 million people in desperate need of assistance.

More information on the background to the conflict.

Latest developments

13 April

In Sudan, the conflict has transformed agricultural areas into battlegrounds, leaving farms deserted and businesses abandoned, exacerbating cash shortages and communication disruptions. As food prices soar, Sudan, South Sudan, and Chad face the threat of starvation, with millions at risk due to destroyed agriculture and crumbling economies. 

With the lean season approaching, Sudan’s already dire situation is worsening, as diminished crop yields and economic instability compound the challenges of providing sufficient food supplies, amplifying the risk of famine and deepening the humanitarian crisis. (WFP)

12 April

Justin Brady, head of OCHA in Sudan, cautioned that without additional resources, the humanitarian situation will deteriorate further, risking famine and hindering assistance efforts. “Most of the rations that people receive from the likes of the World Food Programme (WFP) are cut in half already, so we can’t strip more off the bone to try and make this operation work.”

He warned that despite the severity of the crisis, the funding for the 2024 response plan is only six per cent of the required $2.7 billion, underscoring the urgent need for increased support. (UN News)

12 April

Sudan’s healthcare system is severely strained, with 80% of hospitals in conflict zones shut down due to shortages and displacement of staff. The remaining operational facilities are overwhelmed by patients, causing a crisis in healthcare delivery.

UNFPA responded by deploying 33 mobile units and establishing 64 safe spaces to provide essential maternal health services and support for survivors of gender-based violence in remote areas. This effort aims to reach those most in need and address the critical gaps in healthcare access exacerbated by the conflict. (UNFPA)

12 April

A year into Sudan’s conflict, sexual and other violence are widespread in conflict zones and along asylum routes while UNHCR’s response is hindered due to insufficient funding. Women and girls, comprising over half of Sudan’s registered refugees, face heightened risks of sexual violence, with reports indicating alarming levels of abuse both within Sudan and during migration. 

UNHCR’s report on gender-based violence during the crisis highlights the dire situation, revealing pervasive instances of harassment, abduction, rape, and exploitation experienced by asylum seekers. (UNHCR)

12 April

A new report released today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) emphasizes the critical need for immediate action to address the severe food insecurity crisis in Sudan. Based on a comprehensive survey of 4,504 rural households the report underscores the urgent requirement for extensive interventions to enhance food aid, revive agricultural systems, and restore supply chains. 

UNDP Resident Representative, Thair Shraideh, stressed the importance of understanding the conflict’s impact on livelihoods to guide targeted interventions and policy reforms and planned to launch complementary surveys that would focus on urban households and on micro, small and medium enterprises. (UNDP)

11 April

The UN Fact-Finding Mission on Sudan urges an immediate cease-fire, access to aid, and protection for civilians as the conflict enters its second year. Chair Mohamed Chande Othman emphasizes the need for all parties to halt violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, and calls for accountability for human rights violations. 

The Mission is investigating reports of attacks on civilians and infrastructure, signalling potential violations of international humanitarian law. (OHCHR)

10 April

Shaza Bala Elmahdi, Sudan Country Director for CIPE, highlighted women’s training in negotiations and mediations over the past two decades due to recurring crises, despite facing disproportionate violence and displacement during the ongoing civil war. However, women remain underrepresented in peace talks and humanitarian negotiations, with a recent attempt to add a quota for women falling short at just 30 per cent representation. 

Hanin Ahmed, an activist from Omdurman, emphasized women’s exclusion from humanitarian negotiations, while UN Women collaborates with local organizations to provide emergency assistance, yet struggles to keep up with the escalating need. (UN Women)

10 April

In Kassala State, the Sudanese Organization for Research and Development (SORD) and in Port Sudan, the Women Awareness Organization (AWOON) have partnered with UN Women to support internally displaced persons in Sudan, with a focus on vulnerable women affected by sexual and gender-based violence. 

SORD’s efforts include caring for pregnant women and girls, many of whom have been impregnated due to sexual abuse during the conflict. AWOON, with the assistance of UN Women, provides psychological support and medical assistance to survivors of gender-based violence, and together they have established Women Situation Rooms to offer various humanitarian services. (UN Women)

9 April

A year into the conflict, Sudan faces one of the most severe humanitarian crises, with over 8.5 million displaced and 1.8 million seeking refuge across borders. Civilians endure ongoing violence, including gender-based attacks, violating international law and shattering communities. 

Despite urgent needs, funding remains alarmingly low, hindering vital aid delivery and leaving many without basic necessities. The international community must increase support to ensure dignity and safety for those affected by the conflict. (UNHCR)

5 April

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) recently delivered vital food and nutrition aid to Darfur, marking the first assistance to reach the region in months. In late March, two convoys from Chad brought essential support to approximately 250,000 people facing acute hunger in North, West, and Central Darfur, following negotiations to reopen routes closed in February.

Despite this progress, the WFP emphasizes the critical need for continuous aid through various humanitarian corridors to mitigate Sudan’s worsening hunger crisis. (WFP)

4 April

On 26 March, Lawrence Korbandy of South Sudan was appointed as the special envoy for Sudan by IGAD, with the aim of facilitating negotiations between SAF and RSF. Simultaneously, the US, represented by Special Envoy Tom Perriello, announced efforts to resume peace talks in Sudan by April 18, recognizing the urgency of addressing the conflict’s dire humanitarian consequences. 

Additionally, South Sudan and the UAE reiterated their commitment to resolving the conflict in Sudan. Sudan’s Deputy Foreign Minister suggested that peace talks could resume after Ramadan, based on diplomatic reports from the AU and IGAD. Meanwhile, over 25 organizations urged Egypt to halt the mistreatment of Sudanese refugees. (IOM)

4 April

On 24 March, Minni Minnawi, the leader of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA-MM), and the Governor of Darfur declared their forces’ intention to join SAF in combat against the RSF in Khartoum. RSF’s legal advisor, Mohamed Al-Mukhtar, stated that RSF no longer recognizes Minni Minnawi as Darfur’s governor due to his alignment with SAF. 

Additionally, Lt. Gen. Al Burhan briefed an African Union delegation on the progress of the high-level mechanism’s efforts to devise a conflict resolution strategy, while RSF announced the establishment of a civil administration in Aj Jazira State. (IOM)

4 April

IOM advocates for enhanced transition and stabilization efforts, especially in neighbouring nations where returning populations may seek to settle permanently. In the latest Regional Sudan Crisis Response Situation Update, IOM highlights that it distributed hygiene kits to 10,000 internally displaced persons in Gedaref and offered cash aid to 158 vulnerable households in Port Sudan. (IOM)

4 April

UNICEF’s Humanitarian Situation Report highlights that conflict in Sudan imperils the lives of 24 million children, jeopardizing their health and prospects for the future, particularly in regions like Darfur, Khartoum, and Kordofan. Despite reaching millions with vital aid in 2023, UNICEF faces an urgent need for $840 million in 2024 to continue providing essential services and support to 7.6 million vulnerable children, building upon the previous year’s efforts to address escalating humanitarian crises. 

This report outlined UNICEF’s achievements in 2023 and sets forth ambitious goals for the current year, emphasizing the critical need for sustained funding to mitigate the growing threats facing Sudanese children. (UNICEF)

4 April

The new UNHCR External Update underscores that the ongoing clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have continued to persist since April 2023, leading to severe civilian suffering. Moreover, US Special Envoy for Sudan, Tom Perriello, highlighted on X the dire impact of the conflict on civilians, with attacks occurring in and around civilian areas. 

Representatives Barbara Lee and Sara Jacobs, alongside Senator Cory Booker, issued a joint statement urging increased international aid to address the urgent survival needs of refugees and alleviate their preventable suffering. (UNHCR)

31 March

Nearly a year after the conflict began in Sudan, about 25 million people require humanitarian aid, with 18 million facing acute hunger, including 5 million in emergency conditions. Additionally, approximately 3.5 million children under 5 suffer from acute malnutrition, with over 710,000 experiencing severe acute malnutrition, highlighting the critical need for sustained support to address the escalating crisis. (WHO)

29 March

The worsening conflict in Sudan poses a grave threat to millions facing acute food insecurity and malnutrition, with 17.7 million people, or 37% of the population, at risk according to the IPC analysis. 

Due to security risks and data limitations, the IPC Technical Working Group couldn’t update its analysis, but the situation is dire, urging immediate action from stakeholders to prevent famine amidst escalating conflict. (non-UN source, for reference only: Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC))

28 March

The first UN mission to Sudan underscores the devastating impact of the ongoing conflict, often overlooked on the global stage. UNICEF reports that 24 million children in Sudan bear the brunt of the conflict, with 730,000 facing severe acute malnutrition. Jill Lawler, spearheading UNICEF’s efforts, directs aid operations in places like Omdurman city near Khartoum. (UN News)

25 March

The Government of Japan has provided $896,000 to IOM to enhance humanitarian assistance at key border crossing points in Sudan, aiding IDPs, returnees, migrants, and affected communities with essential services. 

This funding will support health, nutrition, mental health, psychosocial support, and protection services at border crossings like Ashkeet and Galabat, critical lifelines for those seeking refuge across Sudan’s borders with Egypt and Ethiopia respectively. (IOM)

25 March

IRC warns that unfettered humanitarian access and scale-up of funding are needed to avert the catastrophic hunger crisis in Sudan. The ongoing conflict has exacerbated severe food insecurity, affecting approximately 37% of the population, with 18 million people facing acute hunger, including five million at risk of famine. Urgent action is needed to ensure unfettered humanitarian access and increased funding to address this escalating crisis. (non-UN source, for reference only: IRC)

24 March

In his remarks during a press encounter with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry of Egypt, the Secretary-General, António Guterres, highlighted his fast during the Ramadan solidarity visit as well as having an iftar with Sudanese refugees in Cairo, expressing solidarity with the Sudanese people. 

He stated that the resilience witnessed amid conflict during Ramadan is deemed inspiring, but it is distressing to observe war persisting despite global calls for peace and that Egypt’s generosity in hosting over 500,000 Sudanese refugees amid this crisis deserves recognition and increased support from the international community. (OSSG) 

22 March

UN experts raised alarm over the surge in trafficking cases, particularly of women and girls, for sexual exploitation and forced marriage in Sudan, amidst a worsening humanitarian crisis resulting in over 9 million people being displaced.

Access to assistance for victims has deteriorated since December 2023, following eight months of conflict, with reports indicating young women and girls, including internally displaced persons, being trafficked for sexual exploitation and slavery, particularly in areas controlled by RSF forces. (OHCHR)

20 March

UNESCO’s Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, strongly condemns the murder of journalist Khaled Balel in El Fasher, Sudan, urging a thorough investigation to hold the perpetrators accountable. Azoulay emphasizes the vital role of journalists in conflict zones and calls for their safety to be guaranteed, highlighting UNESCO’s commitment to protecting journalists worldwide.

Khaled Balel, serving as a journalist and media director at the Sudanese Supreme Council for Media and Culture and affiliated with the Sudanese Journalists Syndicate, was allegedly fatally shot at his home. (UNESCO)

20 March

In a United Nations Security Council High-Level Open Debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, Deputy Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Maurizio Martina expressed deep concern over Sudan’s severe hunger crisis, exacerbated by almost 11 months of conflict, with 18 million people facing acute food insecurity. 

He emphasized the urgent need for a cessation of hostilities to facilitate humanitarian aid delivery and highlighted the bleak agricultural outlook, calling for immediate donor support to prevent further deterioration in food security over the next 6-9 months. (FAO)

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