Sudanese Despair As War Nears One-Year Anniversary

Sudanese civilians been suffering the consequenses of a one-year bloody conflict between the Sudanese army and the country’s main paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces with no end in sight.

Fighting in Sudan between the army and paramilitaries has been ongoing for almost one year.

Two generals, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, are fighting for control over Africa’s third-largest country and its vast resources.

Al-Burhan leads the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) — while Dagalo, better known as Hemedti, controls the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group.

The Sudan conflict has killed thousands and has sparked a humanitarian disaster in the North African country.

Around 25 million people — more than half the population — need aid, including nearly 18 million who, according to the United Nations, face acute food insecurity.

The two primary warring factions have now launched attacks in and around civilian areas, according to the US special envoy for Sudan, Tom Perriello.

Perriello wrote on social media platform X that “the Sudanese army’s bombing raids in El Fasher, where thousands of civilians from across Darfur have sought refuge, have failed to avoid civilian locations, resulting in dozens of casualties.”

He further noted that the RSF’s attacks on villages in Gezira have led to civilian deaths and the displacement of thousands.

Sudan’s grim year of devastation

Since the fighting erupted on April 15, 2023 more than 8.5 million people have been displaced, many of whom have sought refuge in neighboring Chad and South Sudan.

Thousands have fled the civil war to the South Sudan’s border town of Renk.

Conditions in Renk are dire, with refugee camps severely overcrowded due to the high influx of arrivals each day.

Sanitation provision is woefully insufficient, with 200 people sharing one latrine, leading to a rise in cholera, measles and a severe malnutrition cases.

Aid agencies struggle to meet the dire needs of exhausted and traumatized families who have walked for days with little food and water.

Khalida Ibrahim Salateen, who was displaced from Khartoum, described the situation as dire.

“We sleep on the ground, there’s no food. There’s water, but it’s not clean, and children get sick with no nearby hospital. The situation is very difficult,” Salateen told DW.

Despair amid prayers

Fatim Douka, originally from Sudan’s El Gezira state, resides in the sprawling camp set up in Renk, where the Islamic holy month of Ramadan is filled with despair, hopelessness and unyielding prayers.

“We’re struggling in this camp as we cannot find anything to eat,” she told DW. “Many people who are fasting don’t even find anything to break their fast. They have only been drinking water since Ramadan started. Even the medications provided to us are only for general purposes, like paracetamol. However, medications for hypertension and diabetes are unavailable.”

Madina Zakaria Hamdallah, displaced from Sudan’s capital Khartoum, shared a similar ordeal.

“It’s Ramadan and we need to receive aid,” she said. “Children are hungry, but there’s no food, water, or clothes for them. We don’t get it. They keep telling us that the NGO is coming to help, but no one has arrived.”

UN warns of widespread death due to hunger

The long and desperate wait for food aid may prolong.

Across the country, both the military and the RSF continue to obstruct humanitarian assistance and the free movement of civilians, according to Perriello.

This comes after a United Nations-backed global authority on food security warned that immediate action is needed to “prevent widespread death and total collapse of livelihoods and avert a catastrophic hunger crisis in Sudan.”

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) had been due to issue an update to its December analysis that found nearly 5 million people on the verge of catastrophic hunger, but it was unable to do so due to the war.

As the refugee crisis escalates, the international community faces mounting moral pressure to act urgently.

“It is all about saving lives … asking for resources, for sustainability,” said Mamadou Dian Balde from the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

This article has been adapted by George Okach from a radio report that was broadcast on DW’s daily podcast AfricaLink

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