Mounting Hunger and Desperation as Sudan Civil War Progresses

In April 2023, two rival armed factions began fighting in Khartoum, Sudan. The fighting has since devolved into a large-scale civil war as the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and paramilitary group, Rapid Support Forces (RSF), fight over political power. The conflict has led to one of the largest humanitarian crises today; about 5.5 million people have been displaced from their homes, with three million of those citizens being children. The issue is even more staggering as food resources for displaced peoples dwindle. According to remarks by UNICEF spokesperson James Elder earlier this month, over 700,000 children in Sudan are at risk of life-threatening malnutrition.  

The recent development in food scarcity comes as fighting moved to Jazeera, Sudan, the “breadbasket” of the country (NBC). Elder spoke to NBC and commented that no more than 300,000 children will be able to receive aid due to lack of access and support. UNICEF is appealing for $840 million in funds to help support the mounting malnutrition crisis, however, in the past, collecting these funds has been largely unsuccessful (Reuters).  

The RSF, in an effort to gain leverage, pursued a major communications blackout that left over 50 million people unable to make contact with the outside world. The blackout also left vital aid blocked from entering impacted areas.  

In attempt to leave the conflicted areas, Sudanese citizens have made treks to Chad, a place of temporary refuge from the infighting (Reuters). Looking to outside countries for refuge has come up short, as poor countries struggle to take in more citizens than manageable. The journeys to asylum also pose a deadly threat to those making them. A mother was forced to leave her twelve-year-old son’s dead body on a trail to Chad after he was beaten to death by RSF soldiers (NBC). 

In an attempt at providing significant aid, the UN is appealing a $4.1 billion dollar plan to meet humanitarian needs. Elder has criticized the lack of funds and effort to combat the conflict, with hopes of a more forthcoming result in monetary assistance from the UN.

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