Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator
New York, 25 August 2023
The war in Sudan is fueling a humanitarian emergency of epic proportions. This viral conflict – and the hunger, disease and displacement left in its wake – now threatens to consume the entire country.
The intense fighting that has ravaged the capital Khartoum and Darfur since mid-April has spread to Kordofan. In South Kordofan’s capital, Kadugli, food stocks have been fully depleted, as clashes and road blockages prevent aid workers from reaching the hungry. In West Kordofan’s capital, El Fula, humanitarian offices have been ransacked and supplies looted. I am also extremely worried about the safety of civilians in Al Jazira State, as the conflict moves closer to Sudan’s breadbasket.
The longer the fighting continues, the more devastating its impact. Some places have already run out of food. Hundreds of thousands of children are severely malnourished and at imminent risk of death if left untreated.
Vector-borne diseases are spreading, posing a lethal risk, especially to those already weakened by malnutrition. Cases of measles, malaria, whooping cough, dengue fever, and acute watery diarrhoea are being reported across the country. Most people have no access to medical treatment. The conflict has decimated the health care sector, with most hospitals out of service.
Millions of people have been displaced inside Sudan. Nearly 1 million others have fled across its borders. As more refugees arrive in neighbouring countries, host communities are struggling. A protracted conflict in Sudan could tip the entire region into a humanitarian catastrophe.
A long conflict will almost certainly lead to a lost generation of children as millions miss out on education, endure trauma, and bear the physical and psychological scars of war. Reports that some children in Sudan are being used in the fighting are deeply disturbing.
It is well past time for all those fighting in this conflict to put the people of Sudan above the pursuit of power or resources. Humanity must prevail. Civilians need life-saving assistance now; humanitarians need access and funding to deliver it. The international community needs to respond with the urgency this crisis deserves.