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

22 February

Through the Zero-Dose Immunization Programme (ZIP), one million life-saving vaccine doses have been administered to children in Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan. This initiative, funded by Gavi and led by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), addresses the challenge of vaccinating children in hard-to-reach areas where government health services are limited, with over half of the 2.71 million children under five in the region never having received a vaccine. 

Thabani Maphosa, Managing Director at Gavi, emphasises the importance of innovative partnerships to ensure vulnerable children, often overlooked by traditional health systems, receive essential vaccines.

20 February

Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths has released $100 million from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to aid underfunded humanitarian crises in seven countries across Africa, the Americas, and the Middle East, with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Sudan, and Syria receiving $20 million each. 

This allocation, one of the smallest in recent years for the world’s least-financed crises, highlights the challenge of dwindling donor funding, falling to its lowest level since 2018, in addressing escalating humanitarian needs.

19 February

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warns that the crisis in Sudan is causing soaring rates of hunger and malnutrition, impacting at least 25 million people and leading to the world’s largest displacement crisis across Sudan, South Sudan, and Chad. 

As hunger and acute malnutrition escalate in Sudan, with 18 million acutely food insecure individuals and 3.8 million malnourished children under 5, ongoing conflict impedes aid access, prompting families to flee to South Sudan and Chad, exacerbating existing humanitarian challenges in those countries.

12 February

The “unacceptable” telecommunications blackout in conflict-hit Sudan is impeding humanitarian response efforts, according to the UN’s top aid official, Martin Griffiths, who called for immediate restoration of network access across the country. The outage is hindering people’s access to essential services, fund transfers, and relief operations. WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed similar concerns, stating that the disruptions are affecting health operations and access to services. 

This situation arises amid record-high humanitarian needs in Sudan due to ongoing conflict, with nearly 25 million people, approximately half the population, requiring assistance this year. Last week, the UN and its partners launched a humanitarian response plan to aid 14.7 million people in Sudan.

9 February

As Sudan’s brutal war continues for 300 days, the world’s largest child displacement crisis, widespread malnutrition, and a shattered health system pose a greater threat to children than the conflict itself. 

UNICEF notes unprecedented admissions for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in the accessible areas, with conditions likely worse in conflict-affected regions. Approximately 3.5 million children are expected to experience acute malnutrition this year, with over 700,000 facing SAM and needing specialized, uninterrupted, life-saving treatment.

7 February

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is leading the response within Sudan, seeking $2.7 billion through this year’s Humanitarian Needs and Response Plan to assist 14.7 million people. Simultaneously, UNHCR coordinates the Regional Refugee Response Plan, appealing for $1.4 billion to aid nearly 2.7 million individuals in neighbouring countries. 

With the conflict ongoing for ten months, half of Sudan’s population, totalling 25 million people, requires humanitarian assistance and protection. Over 1.5 million individuals have sought refuge in the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, and South Sudan.

5 February

UNFPA released its Sudan Emergency Situation Report No.10. The key updates state that humanitarian access challenges are adversely affecting medical care, maternal health, and the availability of menstrual hygiene products, with over 60 verified attacks on healthcare facilities exacerbating health issues for pregnant and lactating women. 

The report highlights that the country’s healthcare system, already strained by years of conflict and economic crisis, faces further weaknesses due to the massive destruction of infrastructure, contributing to a heightened risk of disease outbreaks, including cholera, and escalating protection threats for women and girls, including kidnapping, forced marriage, intimate partner violence, and conflict-related sexual violence.

5 February

Following brutal fighting in the oil-rich region of Abyei over the weekend, the UN Interim Security Force (UNISFA) has intensified ground and aerial patrols to prevent further violence, as heavily armed assailants attacked villages over a reported land dispute, resulting in at least 37 deaths, numerous injuries, and significant property damage, including the theft of thousands of cattle. 

UNISFA strongly condemns the violence, aiming to restore calm, protect civilians, and engage with local authorities to prevent retaliatory attacks while increasing patrols to deter further unrest.

2 February

On 7 February, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees will jointly launch the Sudan Humanitarian Needs and Response Plan for 2024, aiming to reach nearly 15 million people within Sudan, along with the Regional Refugee Response Plan targeting almost 2.7 million people in neighbouring countries with life-saving and resilience-building interventions.

2 February

“WFP has food in Sudan, but lack of humanitarian access and other unnecessary hurdles are slowing operations and preventing us from getting vital aid to the people who most urgently need our support,” said Eddie Rowe, WFP Sudan Representative and Country Director in Sudan. 

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) urgently appeals to warring parties in Sudan for assurance of safe and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian food aid to areas affected by the conflict, expressing concern for millions facing acute hunger amidst ongoing challenges.

31 January

In concluding a three-day visit to Ethiopia, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi called for urgent support to address the needs of nearly eight million people displaced by the conflict in Sudan. Grandi acknowledged the efforts of the Ethiopian government, UNHCR, and partners in assisting over 100,000 Sudanese refugees arriving in the country since April 2023. 

30 January

The new Humanitarian Situation Report No. 14 prepared by UNESCO gives an overview of the Sudanese conflict over the past year. It highlights that since the onset of the war, over 7.6 million people, half of whom are children, have been displaced by widespread violence, with half a million displaced in Gezira state in December alone. 

Despite challenges, UNICEF and partners have provided aid to millions and now appeal for $840 million in 2024 to sustain and expand life-saving and resilience services for 8 million vulnerable children in Sudan.

29 January

ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan informed the UN Security Council that the failure to execute warrants and ensure accountability is exacerbating violence in Sudan’s war between rival militaries, emphasising the urgent need for action to prevent future generations from enduring a similar fate. 

The situation in Darfur was referred to the ICC Prosecutor by the Security Council in 2005, amidst a brutal war involving government forces, militias, and rebel groups, leading to widespread civilian casualties and displacement.

29 January

The Secretary-General expresses concerns over the weekend violence in the Abyei Administrative Area, leading to civilian casualties and attacks on UNISFA, resulting in the tragic loss of two peacekeepers. 

Offering deepest condolences to Ghana, Pakistan, and the families of the victims, the Secretary-General condemns the violence, urging South Sudan and Sudan to promptly investigate, assisted by UNISFA, and bring perpetrators to justice, emphasizing that attacks on UN peacekeepers may amount to war crimes.

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