Fleeing Sudanese seek refuge in Chad Fleeing Sudanese seek refuge in Chad 

UN: Over half of Sudan’s population requires humanitarian aid

Humanitarian agencies are calling for parties involved in the conflict to respect international humanitarian law as the crisis in Sudan continues.

By Christopher Wells

The United Nations said on Wednesday more than half of Sudan's population now needed aid and protection, as civilians sought shelter from air strikes and sporadic clashes between rival military factions in the Khartoum area.

Residents said power had been cut, food was in short supply, and drinking water scarce due to the violent power struggle, now in its second month despite international mediation efforts.

Launching an appeal for some $3 billion in aid, the United Nations said 25 million people needed help - the highest number ever recorded in Sudan, where around 15 million needed aid before the conflict.

Demanding respect for international law

In a press release issued Wednesday, Save the Children “urged parties to the conflict to stick to commitments from the Jeddah declaration signed last week, in line with international humanitarian law. This includes protecting civilian infrastructure, such as health facilities and schools, as well as humanitarian workers and assets.”

Arif Noor, Country Director for Save the Children in Sudan, said, “While fighting is ongoing, parties to the conflict must respect international humanitarian law. Destruction of health facilities delivering lifesaving treatment must be stopped at once.” However, he said, “what is most needed is an immediate cessation of hostilities.” Noor added, “We also need the international community to step up and respond to the severe needs outlined in today’s UN Humanitarian Response Plan.”

The children’s rights organization highlighted the deaths of at least 700 people since violence broke out, including almost 200 children. Some 5200 people have been injured in the fighting, and over a million people have been forced from their homes.

Calls for  'large scale' response

“Healthcare across the country is on the verge of collapse, with new figures showing less than 20% of health facilities in Khartoum state remain functional and 60% are not operating at all,” according to Save the Children, with doctors working with the charity saying patients are arriving after long journeys only to find that they do not even have basic medicines.

Save the Children notes that even before the latest conflict, “Sudan had one of the worst child malnutrition rates in the world, with around 610,000 suffering from severe acute malnutrition, putting their lives at risk. Today, the organization notes that around three million children under the age of five are affected by malnutrition."

The organization is calling "is calling on the international community to commit the funding and resources to prepare for a large-scale response to meet critical needs both in Sudan and in neighbouring countries, including to local and national organisations providing frontline response."

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18 May 2023, 12:37