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1 Year Into War, Sudan Remains World's Biggest Displacement Crisis: UN

12.04.2024 14:57

25M people need humanitarian assistance this year, says World Health Organization spokesperson.

The United Nations and World Health Organization reiterated Friday that Sudan is the world's biggest displacement crisis and worsening with every second person, or 25 million people, needing humanitarian assistance this year, 9 million more than last year.

WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said at a UN press conference that 15 million need urgent health assistance.

"Sudan has endured the impact of a violent conflict which started a year ago and has had a staggering human cost. This crisis is one of the most acute and largest in the world," said Lindmeier.

"Sudan is the largest displacement crisis in the world and could soon become one of the world's worst hunger crises, with over a third of the population facing acute food insecurity."

The Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group have engaged in heavy fighting since April in different areas across Sudan including the capital, Khartoum, amid accusations against each other of starting assaults that have left hundreds dead.

Lindmeier said that after one year of active fighting, the health system is collapsing, especially in the hard-to-reach areas, with health facilities destroyed, looted, or struggling with acute shortages of staff, medicines, vaccines, equipment, and supplies.

Access for humanitarian actors is exceptionally constrained, and half of Sudan's states are not accessible from within the country.

Darfur and Kordofan states are inaccessible and cut off from humanitarian aid.

Tip of iceberg

"We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg, and the situation could be much more dire."

While the world grapples with multiple disastrous crises, Sudan remains an underfunded crisis with its humanitarian response plan appeal for health, which has only been funded by 17% so far.

More people have fled conflict in the past year in Sudan than anywhere else in the world, with over 8.6 million displaced within Sudan and in neighboring countries, many of them multiple times.

"Displacement has increased in the past weeks in some parts of Darfur due to increasing violence," said Lindmeier.

Attacks on health care during the war have left more than 25% of all hospitals non-functional, and 62 attacks have been verified by WHO in the last year, resulting in 38 deaths and 45 injuries.

Medical supplies in Sudan are estimated at 25% of the needs, and for several months, there has been a general crisis in medical supply at all levels of the health system, with increasing drug prices and depleted pharmacies.

"This means that people suffering from diabetes, hypertension, cancer, or kidney failure experience and even die from severe complications due to the lack of treatment available," said the WHO spokesperson.

"Some states, such as Darfur, have not received medical supplies for the past year."

Thair Shraideh, the UN Development Program interim representative in Sudan, who spoke from Brussels, said: "In a country where two-thirds of the population live in rural areas, we prioritized focusing on rural households."

He cited a new UN study that says preventing a looming famine also requires an immediate cease-fire, unhindered humanitarian access, and increased support for food, nutrition, health, water, and sanitation interventions. -

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