Last Updated: February 07, 2024, 17:57 IST
People displaced by the conflict in Sudan gather outside a passport office in the city of Gedaref as they attempt to get passports and exit visas. (Image: AFP)
United Nations agencies have sought $4.1 billion to support civilians in war-torn Sudan and the refugees who fled the nation
The UN humanitarian aid and refugee agencies appealed Wednesday for USD 4.1 billion in international support for embattled civilians in Sudan amid signs that some may be dying of starvation after nearly a year of war there between the forces of rival generals.
In their joint appeal, the refugee agency, UNHCR, and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that half of Sudan’s population, or some 25 million people, requires support and protection. They said the requested funds would go to help millions of civilians in Sudan and others who have fled abroad.
They have lost so much,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, who recently met with displaced families in Sudan and neighbouring Ethiopia. “Time after time, we hear the same message from them: We want peace so we can go home, and we need support to rebuild our lives. They desperately need help, and they need it now, Grandi added.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs organizes the often-struggling aid response inside Sudan. It is calling for USD 2.7 billion for the UN and its partners to reach some 14.7 million people. UNHCR is seeking USD 1.4 billion to help nearly 2.7 million people who have fled into five neighbouring countries. Martin Griffiths, the head of OCHA, said the office’s appeal last year for just under USD 2.6 billion was less than half-funded.
UN officials have urged the world to pay attention to the suffering caused by wrenching conflicts in places like Sudan, Congo, Afghanistan and Myanmar and to ensure the wars in Ukraine and Gaza don’t overshadow the needs of civilians elsewhere in the world. The United Nations says the war in Sudan has killed at least 12,000 people, although local doctors groups say the true toll is far higher. Over 10.7 million people have been displaced, according to the UN migration agency.
The UN’s World Food Program says some 18 million people across Sudan currently face acute hunger, with the most desperate trapped behind the front lines of the conflict. Some 19 million children are out of school, the UN says. Sudan slipped into chaos after soaring tensions between military chief Gen Abdel-Fattah Burhan and Gen Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, exploded into open fighting in mid-April in the capital, Khartoum, and elsewhere across the country.