REUTERS: As famine looms in Sudan, the hungry eat soil and leaves

Country: Sudan
REUTERS: As famine looms in Sudan, the hungry eat soil and leaves
04 May 2024

The dire humanitarian situation in Sudan, particularly in the Al Lait refugee camp in North Darfur, has reached a critical point, with people resorting to extreme measures like eating dirt to survive. Garang Achien Akok, among the newly displaced, recounts how his family fled their village in Kordofan due to attacks by Arab militiamen, leaving them without food in the refugee camp.

The civil war, now over a year old, has exacerbated hunger and starvation across Sudan, with widespread displacement and a campaign of ethnic cleansing in Darfur. Agricultural devastation, looting by paramilitary forces, and violence have led to famine-like conditions. Anette Hoffmann, from the Clingendael think tank, warns of an impending famine of unprecedented scale.

Despite international pressure, including calls from the US and aid agencies, for aid access and action to avert famine, the situation remains dire. The conflict's economic toll, unemployment, and collapsed infrastructure have compounded the crisis, leaving even middle-class families struggling to feed themselves.

In Omdurman, Khartoum, residents face daily hardships, with food shortages, looting, and violence. Many, like Lina Mohammed Hassan, have resorted to extreme measures, including boiling tree leaves, to survive. In Port Sudan, where aid is concentrated, malnutrition and disease are rampant among the displaced.

The plundering of agricultural resources by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has decimated food supplies, exacerbating the crisis. Farmers like Khaled Mostafa in El Gezira have lost entire harvests to RSF attacks, further deepening hunger.

Efforts by aid agencies to deliver relief are hampered by bureaucratic hurdles, looting of aid hubs, and restrictions imposed by the military-led government. Despite assurances from the RSF, aid warehouses have been looted, leaving millions without essential supplies.

As the rainy season approaches, aid delivery becomes even more challenging, threatening to cut off remote areas from much-needed assistance. Urgent action is needed to address the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Sudan, with millions at risk of famine and death without immediate intervention.

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Photo credit: A street in the city of Omdurman damaged in the year-long civil war. Residents in the city have found themselves besieged in their homes, trapped between the RSF and the army. REUTERS/El Tayeb Siddig

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