Civil unrest, a deepening economic crisis and clashes in the Darfur region and capital Khartoum have exacerbated the already precarious situation of millions of people in Sudan, both Sudanese and refugees, making for an alarming humanitarian situation. Humanitarian workers urgently need unhindered access to ensure the timely provision of humanitarian aid to people in need.
What are the needs?
Sudan hosts more than 3 million displaced people who had to flee for their safety, either from Sudan itself or from other countries. Humanitarian needs in the country are simply massive. A sharp economic downturn and price inflation since 2018 have exacerbated an already severe humanitarian crisis in Sudan. The ensuing unrest and peaceful demonstrations for a transition to civilian rule were met with excessive force on 2 June 2019, killing 100 people and wounding more than 500. The deepening crisis has a knock-on effect on the humanitarian situation. The number of people that require humanitarian assistance has risen to more than 8 million. Soaring commodity prices, cash and fuel shortages, and the disruption of basic services have left vulnerable people struggling, especially those who are internally displaced, and refugees.
Although more humanitarian assistance is needed, numerous travel and administrative restrictions, and a volatile security situation continue to hinder the delivery of aid. Despite a good harvest in 2018, 58% of people in Sudan cannot afford one meal a day. Among refugees and the internally displaced, this figure rises to 90%. Close to 5.8 million people are living at crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity. Malnutrition rates in Sudan are among the highest in the world. 2.5 million children (1 in 6) and mothers suffer from acute malnutrition, a life-threating condition.
As the UN Mission to Darfur (UNAMID) plans to wrap up its operations by the end of 2019, renewed violence across Darfur has led to deaths, displacement and a tense situation with serious concerns for people’s safety. Sudan hosts more than a third of the South Sudanese refugees in east Africa (850,000 people). Resources in the hosting areas are overstretched, food supplies are running short, education is under-resourced and organisations are reporting shortages of essential medicines.
How are we helping?
Since 2011, the EU has allocated over €463 million in life-saving assistance to people in Sudan affected by conflict, natural disasters, food insecurity and malnutrition. The overall humanitarian response in Sudan continues to respond to the most critical needs despite the numerous challenges it faces, such as the lack of emergency capacity, a critical funding gap, and a restrictive and insecure operating environment.
In close cooperation with its humanitarian partners, the EU supports a principled and needs-based approach in Sudan aimed at reaching the most vulnerable and suffering people. The EU’s humanitarian aid provides them with health and nutritional care, food assistance, water and sanitation, shelter, protection, and education.
The bulk of EU humanitarian aid in Sudan goes to food assistance and nutrition. It supports the most vulnerable households – mostly internally displaced and refugee families – that are struggling to get enough food to meet their needs. The EU also contributes to the nutritional treatment and care for children under five and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers across Sudan. In 2018, EU humanitarian partners helped treat more than 215,000 children and mothers who suffered from severe acute malnutrition.
In refugee hosting areas, EU funds support the set-up of reception facilities for new arrivals in refugee hosting areas. Here, they are screened for malnutrition, diseases and vulnerability and referred for special help if needed. They are also registered to make sure they receive shelter and essential household goods as well as getting access to basic services.
The European Union’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) in Sudan are run from offices in the capital, Khartoum, and in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur. Humanitarian experts from the EU travel regularly to the country to assess the multitude of needs. They also identify gaps in the response and monitor EU-funded humanitarian projects carried out by partner organisations.