Sudan: Hunger Set to Hit Record High in Sudan As Fighting Continues

Rome/Port Sudan — The UN World Food Programme warned today that an additional 2 – 2.5 million people in Sudan are expected to slip into hunger in the coming months as a result of the ongoing violence in the country. This would take acute food insecurity in Sudan to record levels, with more than 19 million people affected, two fifths of the population.

The biggest spikes in food insecurity are expected in West Darfur, West Kordofan, Blue Nile, Red Sea and North Darfur states. Meanwhile, the cost of food is soaring all across the country, and the price of basic food items is expected to increase by 25 percent in the next three to six months. If farmers are prevented from accessing their fields and planting key staples between May and July, it will drive food prices even higher.

Insecurity and violence forced WFP to temporarily pause its operations in Sudan, but it has since restarted them and since last week has reached over 35,000 people with lifesaving food. Operations are focused on assisting a total of 384,000 people, including families who have recently fled the conflict, pre-existing refugees and internally displaced people and the vulnerable communities hosting them across Gedaref, Gezira, Kassala and White Nile states.

Additionally, the WFP-managed UN Humanitarian Air Services (UNHAS) is starting regular air connections between Port Sudan and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia facilitating the safe transportation of frontline humanitarians and critical aid.

In the coming months, WFP will scale up its emergency assistance to support 4.9 million vulnerable people in areas where the security situation allows, in addition to preventing and treating moderate acute malnutrition for 600,000 children under five and pregnant and breastfeeding women. Prior to the outbreak of conflict, WFP had a funding gap of more than US$300 million for its life-saving operations, and the needs are expected to rise significantly with the crisis.

Supporting immediate needs in neighbouring countries

The conflict has triggered displacement within and outside Sudan, with people fleeing to neighbouring countries needing basics like shelter, food and water. In Chad, WFP rapidly provided emergency food assistance to new arrivals and has so far reached over 16,000 people. But the response is at risk because of a low level of funding for operations in Chad.

Over 40,000 people have already crossed into South Sudan, where WFP is providing hot meals each day at transit centres as well as nutrition screening for children and pregnant or breastfeeding women. For an already cash-strapped WFP in South Sudan, extra pressure on resources could force WFP to take food and funding from others to support new arrivals.