The humanitarian situation in Sudan remains one of the most complex emergencies globally, and 4.8 million people are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance in 2017. Sudan faces two major overlapping humanitarian challenges: one triggered by new and protracted wide-scale population displacement and another due to climatic and socio-cultural conditions leading to crisis levels of food insecurity and malnutrition. The scale and long-term nature of displacement, especially in Darfur, which has not been matched by economic opportunities, has exposed displaced people to hardship and uncertainty about their future. This is putting an additional strain on the 3.6 million people currently suffering from food insecurity, and the 2.2 million children suffering from acute malnutrition.
In South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, violence has resulted in new displacements in government-controlled areas. In areas controlled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement—North (SPLM-N), which humanitarian organizations have not been able to access since conflict started in 2011, the humanitarian situation is reportedly critical.
Instability outside Sudan’s borders increases the overall humanitarian burden, with thousands of people seeking asylum and refuge in Sudan. In total, Sudan hosts some 800,000 refugees, asylum seekers and other people of concern from Central African Republic, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia and South Sudan, as well as from Syria and Yemen, and more continue to arrive. Following the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan in December 2013, South Sudanese refugees have sought refuge in Sudan and by early 2017, over 300,000 South Sudanese refugees had arrived in Sudan. It is anticipated that South Sudanese refugees will continue to arrive in Sudan throughout 2017. Refugees are in need of protection and humanitarian assistance.
As well as conflict and insecurity, humanitarian needs are also driven by poverty, chronic underdevelopment, and climatic factors. For example, some of the highest malnutrition rates are in eastern Sudan – an area free from conflict. Strengthening self-reliance, improving access to basic services and facilitating durable solutions can help address these challenges.
Environmental factors also exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Sudan, driving displacement and food insecurity. In particular, Sudan continues to experience unpredictable rainfall patterns and desertification that negatively affect the harvest and food supply. In some areas, annual rainfall causes flash-flooding, resulting in temporary displacement and the destruction of homes and livelihoods.
The top priority of the humanitarian community remains to mobilise effective and principled humanitarian response to alleviate human suffering.