World’s largest hunger crisis looms in Sudan, UN warns

El Tayeb Siddig/Reuters/File

A boy sits atop a hill overlooking a refugee camp near the Chad-Sudan border on November 9, 2023. Hundreds of Masalit families from Sudan’s West Darfur state were transferred here months after fleeing to the Chadian border town of Adre following an ethnically targeted massacre. in the town of El Geneina.



CNN

The war in Sudan is “causing the world’s worst hunger crisis”, with more than 25 million people “trapped in a spiral” of food insecurity, a United Nations agency has warned.

Nine in 10 people across the country face “emergency levels of hunger” and are “trapped” in areas that are “largely inaccessible” due to “relentless violence and interference by the warring parties,” the World Food Program (WFP) said. UN Wednesday.

The war, which the UN says has also caused the world’s worst displacement crisis, has left 18 million people in Sudan “acutely food insecure” and millions more in neighboring South Sudan and Chad.

“Twenty years ago, Darfur was the world’s worst hunger crisis, and the world took action to respond. But today, the people of Sudan have been forgotten. Millions of lives and the peace and stability of an entire region are at stake,” said Cindy McCain, WFP Executive Director.

Thousands of people have been killed and eight million displaced since fighting broke out in April between forces loyal to two rival generals – army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who heads The Armed Forces of Sudan (SAF) and the head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

Both forces and their allied militias have been accused of killing civilians, looting homes and ethnic cleansing, leading to accusations of crimes against humanity and fueling the exodus from the East African country.

The WFP said it is now “struggling to keep pace with the dire need” and described the humanitarian response in the two neighboring states as “at breaking point.”

The crisis has worsened since the program was forced to halt its operations to transport aid from Chad to Sudan’s western Darfur region after local authorities withdrew permission for cross-border truck convoys, the WFP said. Since August, more than a million people have received WFP assistance through this route.

According to WFP, one in five children in transit centers at the main border crossing between Sudan and South Sudan is malnourished

“Newly arrived displaced persons in South Sudan make up 35 percent of those facing catastrophic levels of hunger – the highest possible level – despite making up less than 3 percent of the population,” the WFP added.

EBRAHIM HAMID/AFP/AFP via Getty Images

A woman sorts grains at a market in Gedaref, eastern Sudan, on February 22, 2024. Nearly a year after a war that brought Sudan to the brink of collapse, the vast majority of the population is hungry, the World Food Program said. UN. say.

The WFP warning came as US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the UN had found evidence that girls as young as 14 years old had been raped by “elements” of the Rapid Support Forces in WFP storage facilities that were being controlled by the paramilitary faction. .

Thomas-Greenfield on Wednesday read portions of the final report of the U.N. panel of experts on Sudan, a report she described as “52 pages of stomach-churning findings.”

She said the report alleged that RSF snipers “indiscriminately attacked civilians, including women, pregnant women and youth,” and that “schools, hospitals, markets, government buildings and humanitarian resources were largely looted by RSF and allied militias and destroyed by shelling and bombings. by the two warring parties.”

The UN has previously said that a spike in gender-based violence since the fighting broke out amounts to crimes against humanity. In July, the UN said as many as 4.2 million women and girls were at increased risk of sexual violence, while a CNN investigation has detailed widespread cases of sexual violence alleged by Sudanese activists, particularly in the Darfur region, where entire communities have reportedly been abused. ravaged by targeted ethnic killings.

AFP/Getty images

Sudanese citizens walk through a nearly empty road where many shops are closed for security reasons in the town of Gedaref in eastern Sudan on January 10, 2024.

Thomas-Greenfield said the latest report included “horrifying photographs” taken in West Darfur “where the RSF targeted members of the Masalit community.”

“This is just a snapshot of the death, destruction and depravity that has defined this conflict. A conflict that, as this report describes, is fueled by arms transfers from a handful of regional powers. Armed transfers that must stop,” she said, noting that the international community is “not doing nearly enough” to address the crisis.

“I hope this sobering report will finally shake the world from its indifference to the horrors unfolding before our eyes,” she added.

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