Humanitarian Assistance

 Photo: UN.


Sudan is one of just a small handful of countries that has launched a consolidated international humanitarian appeal every year since 2000. Nonetheless, the humanitarian situation in Sudan remains one of the most complex emergencies, characterized by recurrent conflicts, new and protracted displacements, regional insecurity, crisis levels of malnutrition and food insecurity, chronic poverty and a deteriorating economic climate leaving 5.4 million people in need of life-saving humanitarian assistance in 2015.


In Darfur, the conflict has become more widespread and unpredictable, further compounded by a rise in general criminality in the region. By end 2014, there were over 2.5 million displaced people in Darfur. In South Kordofan and Blue Nile States, ongoing violence has resulted in new displacements in government-controlled areas. Simultaneously in Sudan People’s Liberation Movement—North (SPLM-N) controlled areas, which humanitarian organizations have not been able to access since 2011, the humanitarian situation is increasingly critical. In Darfur’s Jebel Marra region, humanitarian access and assistance has been similarly sparse since 2011, particularly in areas controlled by the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA). As a result the basic needs of tens of thousands of people remain unmet.


Instability around Sudan’s borders is adding to the overall humanitarian burden, with thousands seeking asylum and refuge in Sudan. Following the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan in December 2013, there has been a constant flow of South Sudanese into Sudan that will likely continue until a political solution is reached in South Sudan. There is also a continuing flow of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants (both economic and stranded) from CAR, Chad, Eritrea and Ethiopia. The refugees' presence places additional pressure on resources, both for the country which is already affected by an economic downturn and for humanitarian partners who are stretched to respond to numerous emergencies.


Food insecurity and malnutrition are major challenges across much of the country, including in the relatively peaceful east. Classified as a least-developed and a low-income food-deficit country, Sudan has alarming levels of hunger according to the 2013 Global Hunger Index. Environmental factors also exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Sudan, driving displacement and food insecurity. In particular, Sudan has recently experienced unpredictable rainfall patterns and desertification that negatively affect the harvest and food supply. In other areas, annual rainfall causes flash-flooding, resulting in temporary displacement and the destruction of homes and livelihoods.


A total of 5.4 million people (about 13% of Sudan’s population) have been identified as requiring humanitarian assistance.  The priority of the humanitarian community remains to ensure that people receive the immediate lifesaving assistance and protection crucial to their survival. After more than a decade of short-term relief aid, however, efforts to enhance the self-reliance of affected people are becoming increasingly central to humanitarian interventions in Sudan.


For 2015 the UN and humanitarian partners have targeted 5.4 million people in need of emergency humanitarian assistance, including over 3 million children. Overall funding requirements amount to US$1.3 billion, as laid out in the 2015 Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP).


The UN and partners have agreed on the following four strategic objectives to guide humanitarian actions in 2015:


1.     Provide emergency relief aid to vulnerable people affected by conflict and disaster

All partners are committed to prioritizing their activities on immediate life-saving assistance for the most vulnerable people, including the new as well as the long-term displaced and affected people. Partners will seek to deliver their emergency aid relief in a way that contributes to resilience.


2. Provide humanitarian protection to affected people

The focus of humanitarian action is on the fundamental well-being of people. The humanitarian crisis in Sudan is essential man-made, with needs extending beyond material assistance. A critical aim of the humanitarian community, working in cooperation with the Government of Sudan, is to ensure that people in need are assisted and supported. In practice this includes enhancing physical, legal and material security of conflict affected people; preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence; enhancing access to justice for conflict affected populations; and reducing the risks of landmines and explosive remnants of war.  


3. Reduce food insecurity and malnutrition below emergency levels

The food insecurity and malnutrition crisis, while compounded by conflict and displacement, also affect parts of Sudan not affected by conflict, which demonstrates the significant presence of additional factors such as feeding habits, child care and access to health services. Thus humanitarian interventions are tailored to reflect the particular situation in each area of concern, addressing the distinct causes of food insecurity and malnutrition.


4. Strengthen resilience and facilitate durable solutions for conflict-affected people

UN system in cooperation with Government of Sudan seek to develop emergency programmes in a way that builds the capacity of national partners, and empowers affected people to become more self-reliant, consequently reducing aid dependency. The design and delivery phases of such programmes will be undertaken in partnership with local and national authorities and communities; ensuring these programmes are accountable to the people they aim to assist. Increased ownership and self-reliance will enhance the resilience of affected communities. Humanitarian partners will also engage relevant Government and development partners to facilitate long-term solutions, and where relevant, to tackle development issues that have humanitarian consequences (e.g. malnutrition).


Cross-cutting and context-specific issues


Humanitarian actors in Sudan have committed themselves to ensuring and promoting gender equality in the humanitarian response through the application of the Gender Marker, a tool designed to ensure that all segments of the target population will benefit equally.



Sudan faces a number of environmental challenges, including environmental degradation and the over-exploitation of natural resources, especially the unsustainable use of forests and groundwater resources. As a result, the design and implementation of humanitarian interventions needs to take such challenges into account, with the aim of reducing negative impact while promoting the sustainable use of natural resources. Integrating environmental concerns within humanitarian action can have a tangible impact in terms of improving access to basic services, ensuring strengthened community resilience and enabling durable livelihoods.


Early Recovery:

Early recovery is an approach that should be integrated into the work of all humanitarian actors to ensure the dividends of humanitarian response are sustainable and interventions link to longer-term development processes and goals. Although life-saving support remains the first priority, early recovery approaches aim to restore services, livelihoods and governance capacity: in the process, establishing an environment where the displaced have the opportunity to access essential services, have viable livelihoods, and live in safety and dignity. Early recovery approaches also seek to involve the local authorities and communities in the planning as much as possible.


Early recovery-centered approaches are not new to Sudan; they have been developing in concert with concrete evolutions in global policy and implementation. Sudan’s National Strategic Plan, the interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), and the 2013-2016 United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) all reflect a policy-driven emphasis on opportunity-based transitions from relief to development.  Particularly in light of the protracted crisis in Darfur, early recovery is a key conceptual underpinning of the Darfur Development Strategy, a multi-year strategy created in support of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) that was endorsed by international partners in April 2013.



Inter-agency guidelines for HIV/AIDS interventions in emergency settings views HIV as an emergency priority and a multi-sectoral responsibility. During a humanitarian crisis, it is well documented that people may adopt new cultural norms that increase the risk of HIV infection. As a result, it is necessary to consider the impact of the humanitarian situation on the vulnerability of people to HIV and their capacities to cope with it.