War-Torn Sudan Faces Imminent ‘Catastrophic Hunger’, Forewarns WFP

Port Sudan — The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has warned of ”catastrophic hunger” in parts of war-ravaged Sudan next year should the UN agency remain unable to expand its interventions.

The agency, in a statement released Wednesday, said it was facing challenges in delivering consistent food assistance to conflict-trapped populations in Khartoum, as well as regions in Darfur, and the Kordofan.

Sudan, once hailed as East Africa’s future breadbasket, confronts an escalating hunger crisis as the country nears the eighth month of conflict.

A recent food security analysis revealed the highest recorded levels of hunger during the harvest season (October through February), traditionally a period of increased food availability.

The WFP warned should there be no substantial increase in food assistance by May, conflict hotspots could witness the emergence of catastrophic hunger, known as Phase 5 on the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC).

”We call on all parties to the conflict for a humanitarian pause and unfettered access to avert a hunger catastrophe in the upcoming lean season,” Eddie Rowe, WFP Country Director and Representative in Sudan, said in an urgent appeal.

”Lives depend on it, yet there are far too many people trapped in areas with active fighting who we can only reach sporadically, if at all.”

The situation is dire, with nearly 18 million people across Sudan facing acute hunger (IPC3+) – more than double the number a year ago and surpassing the initial projection of 15 million in the previous assessment in August.

Close to 5 million people are in emergency levels of food insecurity (IPC4), with over three-quarters cornered in areas where humanitarian access has been intermittent and, in some areas, impossible due to ongoing fighting.

Since the onset of the conflict, WFP has provided life-saving assistance to over five million people, preventing an even worse deterioration of food security, particularly in eastern and northern Sudan.

Despite these efforts, regular and safe humanitarian access to civilians in areas worst hit by violence remains inadequate.

”We have taken advantage of momentary lulls in fighting to reach families in greater Khartoum with food assistance but have only managed to reach the capital once in the last three months,” Rowe noted.

”Overall, of the people that WFP has identified as most urgently in need of food assistance in the Khartoum metropolitan area, only one in five has received food aid since the conflict started.”

While regular convoys from Chad have provided food assistance to half a million people in West and Central Darfur since August, individuals in other parts of the Darfur region have not received any assistance since June, despite WFP’s repeated attempts to secure safe access.

”The speed at which hunger has risen over the past year is alarming. More and more people are struggling to eat a basic meal a day, and unless things change, there is a very real risk they won’t even be able to do that,” Rowe asserted.

The key drivers of the plunge into hunger include intensified conflict and growing intercommunal violence, a macroeconomic crisis, soaring prices of food, fuel, and essential goods, and below-average agricultural production.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More