Khartoum, 16 January 2024(TDI): Agencies are considering a new route into Sudan to deliver aid as the humanitarian crisis gets worse and disease outbreaks during the ongoing conflict in Sudan.
Accessing many of the areas in the country has become challenging. Due to the continuing conflict, it is leading to a severe humanitarian crisis.
On Monday, a senior UN official mentioned that aid agencies now considering a new route through South Sudan. They are looking to deliver assistance to Sudan amidst a severe humanitarian crisis. Moreover, Rick Brennan, the regional emergency director for the World Health Organization (WHO), also expressed concerns. While addressing a press briefing in Cairo he said that they are facing the extreme challenges of the operating environment.
Brennan highlighted that unfortunately, aid agencies no longer have access to Wad Madani, a former aid hub, after the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) took control of Wad Madani last month. Therefore, aid agencies are considering a new route into Sudan to deliver assistance.
Moreover, Brennan stated that they are considering the possibility of initiating cross-border operations from South Sudan. They will continue their operations into the southern regions of the Kordofan states in Sudan as well.
Additionally, international agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have consistently faced bureaucratic hurdles when attempting to access the army-controlled hub of Port Sudan. Furthermore, these agencies face hurdles in obtaining travel permits for other parts as well.
The UN humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, expressed his dismay in a statement last week. He labeled the reasons for the hindrance of aid delivery as “frankly outrageous.” He further said that both factions deny obstructing the aid efforts.
Griffiths showed concerns saying disappointedly, diplomats and aid workers briefed that the army and its aligned officials are hindering humanitarian access. He stressed, clearing customs for incoming supplies to the country may take up to 18 days. This may potentially extend the process even further.
Disease outbreaks during ongoing crisis
Health services have witnessed further deterioration. They are already severely compromised since the onset of the conflict in mid-April. According to Brennan, there are currently at least six significant disease outbreaks. These outbreaks include cholera, measles, dengue fever, vaccine-derived polio, malaria, and others. Simultaneously, hunger levels are escalating due to restricted access to food.
Critics argue that the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have inadequately protected aid supplies and workers. In addition, there have been allegations of their involvement in looting.
Currently, the U.N. and other agencies are primarily constrained to operations based out of Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast. Horribly, in these regions, ethnically-driven killings have remained prevalent. Hence, agencies are considering a new route into Sudan to deliver aid.
Updates on escalating Sudan crisis
Sudan has now been prone to war for nine months. The conflict between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has resulted in almost half of Sudan’s 49 million people needing humanitarian assistance. Over 7.5 million individuals have been displaced from their homes. This figure has marked Sudan as the largest global displacement crisis, with hunger on the rise.
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As per the WHO data, 65% of the population in Sudan lacks access to healthcare services. A massive number of 7.6 million people are facing hunger, thirst, diseases, gender-based, and other violence while getting displaced. In 9 out of 18 areas, 96,000 Cholera cases have erupted.
Besides this, 17.7 million people have been exposed to hunger in the recent crisis. Also, there are grave chances of famine and 44 million people are on the brink of famine. Unfortunately, 3.5 million children under age 5 are facing acute malnourishment.
The ongoing crises in Sudan for 9 months have triggered one of the most severe humanitarian crises globally. After a popular uprising in 2019, the army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) initially shared power with civilians. However, in 2021, they jointly orchestrated a coup and subsequently clashed over their roles in a proposed transition toward elections. Since then, the humanitarian crisis has emerged and Sudanese are extremely suffering from it.