WASHINGTON POST: Famine looms in Sudan after a year of war

Country: Sudan
WASHINGTON POST: Famine looms in Sudan after a year of war
05 April 2024

A summary of an article by the Today’s WorldView newsletter in the Washington Post: The situation in Sudan has deteriorated significantly over the past year due to a devastating civil war, leaving close to 25 million people—almost half the country's population—in need of humanitarian assistance. The conflict has resulted in the displacement of nearly a fifth of the population, making it the largest internally displaced population globally.

The war is primarily between Sudan's armed forces, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, commonly known as Hemedti. Initially allies, Burhan and Hemedti collaborated to overthrow a civilian-led government in 2021, leading to a fractured alliance and widespread conflict across Sudan. The war is also influenced by the interests of various external powers.

Civilians have borne the brunt of the conflict, with urban areas facing artillery bombardments and airstrikes, and militias engaging in tribal vendettas and ethnic massacres. The death toll is believed to be in the tens of thousands, with reports of as many as 15,000 civilians killed in a single incident in November. Satellite imagery shows more than 100 towns and villages razed by RSF fighters, reminiscent of atrocities committed in Darfur by the Janjaweed militia.

The conflict has triggered a humanitarian crisis, with millions facing acute food insecurity and malnutrition. The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) warns of widespread death and a collapse of livelihoods without immediate intervention. Food prices have soared, crops have been abandoned due to conflict and drought, and the healthcare system is overwhelmed. Estimates suggest that hundreds of thousands of vulnerable individuals, including children and pregnant women, could die from malnutrition in the coming months.

Despite the dire situation, aid delivery is hindered by security concerns and access issues. The feuding warlords have failed to negotiate meaningful ceasefires, and aid shipments are reportedly blocked or looted by military forces. International support for Sudan's humanitarian appeal is lacking, with only 5 percent of required funds raised. The conflict has largely fallen out of global attention, overshadowed by other crises.

Civil society groups report alarming levels of desperation and exploitation, including gender-based violence and the enslavement of victims by RSF fighters. Despite efforts by the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations to raise awareness, Sudan's plight remains largely ignored by the international community, leaving its people feeling abandoned and forgotten amidst the chaos and suffering.

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