The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA) in Sudan has expressed its concern about the rapidly worsening humanitarian situation in the country. A record 25 million people, half of the population, needs humanitarian aid, Sofie Karlsson, head of OCHA Communications and Analysis, told Dabanga Sudan yesterday.
There are more than 5,000 cases of cholera recorded in Sudan, Karlsson said. About 70 per cent of the health facilities in the areas of conflict are not functioning. Two-thirds of the population lack access to health services.
As for food security, she spoke about “staggering numbers” of hungry people. “Between 15 to 20 million people are going hungry. There are also alarming numbers of malnutrition cases in the country.”
The World Food Programme (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN children’s Fund (UNICEF) together with humanitarian partners are providing food assistance, treatment of malnourished people, and seeds for farmers, “but this is not enough,” the UN officer said.
“Our plan this year is to provide assistance to eighteen million Sudanese, but we’re facing three major challenges,” Karlsson explained.
“The first one is access, especially to Khartoum, Darfur, and Kordofan where the fighting is intense, and the needs are high due to a combination of insecurity and bureaucratic impediments humanitarian organisations are facing.
“Secondly. we’re facing a funding challenge. Our appeal is less than 40 per cent funded. We need more resources to meet everyone’s needs.
“Thirdly: attention. There is a multitude of crises going on in the world, and the scale and magnitude of what is happening in Sudan is not talked about enough. We need to bring it to the attention of the international community.”
‘Completely reliant on aid’
OCHA reported today that “only about 18 per cent of the targeted population has been reached amidst very challenging access constraints in conflict-affected states. The health system is completely reliant on humanitarian aid with continuously emerging gaps resulting from disease outbreaks, financial gaps to support immunization campaigns and lack of medical supplies to support non-communicable diseases such renal failure and need for dialysis.”
According to the report, humanitarian organisations require $2.6 billion to support 18.1 million people with multi-cluster assistance and protection services until the end of the year, but only $980.5 million (38.2 per cent) has been received as of 27 November.
On Wednesday, Dabanga Sudan reported that Central Darfur Muslim cleric and social activist Matar Younis has launched “an urgent humanitarian appeal” to the international community to send aid to the displaced in Darfur “to avoid an imminent famine”.