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Tomorrow will mark two months of escalating violence in Sudan. Clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) continue in Khartoum, Darfur, and several areas of the country.
Conflict and forced displacement are causing malnutrition rates to skyrocket. More than 1.8 million people have been forced to flee their homes. According to Action Against Hunger Sudan’s health and nutrition coordinator, Samson Wolderufael, “even those who have some money have no access to food. Markets are closed. Many agricultural activities have been interrupted just as the planting season begins in Sudan. Banks have collapsed, prices have doubled, movement and roads are unsafe. All of this is affecting the ability of families to access food.”
48 million people are affected by this crisis. Children, women, the elderly, people living with physical and mental disabilities, displaced people and those with chronic diseases are the most vulnerable. All of them urgently need access to general food supplies and supplementary food such as therapeutic food used to treat children with severe acute malnutrition. Wolderufael explains, “reports confirm that more than 50,000 children in severe acute malnutrition programs have had their treatment interrupted because of the conflict. At Action Against Hunger, we have resumed therapeutic food distribution activities for the population in White Nile, one of the states with the highest presence of internally displaced persons, and Blue Nile.”
The population also has no guaranteed access to health care. Health centers are not functioning properly, and most have been damaged or looted. Sixty-seven percent of hospitals near areas with active fighting are not functioning, according to UN data. Action Against Hunger Sudan’s health and nutrition coordinator, Wolderufael, explains that “children are dying from malnutrition and have health problems such as pneumonia, acute watery diarrhea, cholera, malaria and other infections.“
At least 162 vehicles of humanitarian organizations have been stolen and 61 offices and 57 warehouses looted. Jody Paulson Cormack, global security focal point for Action Against Hunger Spain, says “this practice is common in conflict zones. We are experiencing it again in Sudan. Humanitarian workers are clearly not being respected.”
After several failed ceasefires, Cormack says “there seems to be no sign that humanitarian aid will be allowed to pass. All the organizations are demanding that we be allowed to work and reach all the victims of the conflict. There have been small moments when we have been able to transport food and medicine to some areas, but it is not enough compared to the growing needs.”
The Action Against Hunger office in the Zalingei area of Central Darfur was recently looted. Cormack explains, “they have taken medicines, nutritional treatments, computers, all kinds of items that enable us to respond to the crisis and reach the affected populations.”
Action Against Hunger Spain’s global security focal point, Jody Paulson Cormack, concludes: “Our teams in Sudan are ready to work, everyone is on standby to bring support to the affected people, we just need a minimum green light to move forward.”
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