Humanitarian crisis in Sudan is reaching breaking point: UN

A view of a building damaged due to conflict in Sudan. [Photo: Twitter]

Two weeks since clashes erupted in Khartoum and around Sudan, the humanitarian situation is reaching breaking point, the UN said.

Goods essential for people’s survival are becoming scarce in the hardest-hit urban centres, especially Khartoum, and families are struggling to access water, food, fuel, and other critical commodities. The cost of transportation out of worst-hit areas has risen exponentially, leaving the most vulnerable unable to locate to safer areas.

Access to urgent health care, including for those injured in the violence, is severely constrained, raising the risk of preventable death.

The toll on mental health, especially for children and young people, is unfathomable.

The United Nations and our partners are doing our best to reboot the humanitarian response in the country. Massive looting of the offices and warehouses of humanitarian organizations has depleted most of our supplies. We are exploring urgent ways to bring in and distribute additional supplies.

A shipment with five containers of intravenous fluids and other emergency supplies is docked in Port Sudan, awaiting clearance by the authorities.

Tens of thousands of people have fled Sudan and are seeking safety in the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya and South Sudan, often among already vulnerable communities. Under the leadership of the UN Refugee Agency, we are working with host governments and supporting local partners to help meet their immediate needs.

The scale and speed of what is unfolding in Sudan is unprecedented. We are extremely concerned by the immediate as well as long-term impact on all people in Sudan and the broader region.

At the request of the United Nations Secretary-General, I am on my way to the region to explore how we can bring immediate relief to the millions of people whose lives have turned upside down overnight.

However, the obvious solution to this crisis is to stop the fighting.

My message to the parties is unequivocal: Protect civilians and civilian infrastructure. Ensure safe passage for civilians fleeing areas of hostilities. Respect humanitarian workers and assets. Facilitate relief operations. Respect medical personnel, transport and facilities and stop using them as shields.

Pertinently, more than 400 civilians have died in the fighting in Sudan so far. The civilian death toll reached at least 411 over the weekend, according to Sudan Doctors’ Syndicate, which is monitoring deaths in the country.

The intense fighting in Khartoum has reached its third week.

In Sudan, the rivalry between two top generals has engulfed the north African country in warfare.

The fighting between army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan’s forces and his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) began on April 15 over a dispute on the planned integration of the RSF into the regular army.

The clashes are between the regular army and a paramilitary force called the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Since the 2021 coup, Sudan has been run by a council of generals, led by the two military men at the centre of this dispute. One is Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the armed forces and in effect, the country’s president and his deputy and leader of the RSF, Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemedti.

They have disagreed on the direction the country is going in and the proposed move towards civilian rule.

The main sticking points are plans to include the 100,000-strong RSF into the army, and who would then lead the new force.

It is disputed who fired the first shot but the fighting swiftly escalated in different parts of the country with more than 400 civilians dying, according to the World Health Organization.

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