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NewsFAO raises alarm on escalating food crisis in Sudan  

FAO raises alarm on escalating food crisis in Sudan  

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FAO said 20.3 million individuals in Sudan face severe hunger, a figure that has nearly doubled since last year.  

Projections show that 42% of the population is experiencing high levels of immediate food shortage. This is made worse by disruptions in the market and rapidly increasing food prices, which make it difficult to obtain necessary goods and services.

According to the most recent analysis by the Integrated Food Security Phases, a commonly used classification for determining the severity of food shortage, the situation is critical. Around 14 million people are currently facing a “crisis” level of food shortage, and over six million people, roughly 13% of the population, are now just one step away from experiencing famine.

The regions most severely impacted include Khartoum, South and West Kordofan, as well as Central, East, South and West Darfur.  

‘Unimaginable suffering’

Abdulhakim Elwaer, FAO’s Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for the Near East and North Africa, expressed concern about the severe impact of the conflict on the food and nutrition security of millions of people. He stated that families are experiencing unimaginable suffering.

Additionally, the ongoing fighting has led to the displacement of over four million people and caused significant damage to critical infrastructure. This has further worsened the issue of food insecurity and malnutrition.

FAO emphasized that the lack of adequate resources is hindering humanitarian efforts to address the situation.

Funding shortfall

The UN agency has requested an immediate increase in funding by $65 million to help more than six million people and assist farmers in getting ready for the upcoming planting season.

The UN food agency is worried about the estimates for the period from October 2023 to February 2024, as approximately 15 million individuals are expected to experience a food crisis.

“It is vital that FAO is stepping in to support more than one million farmers this season to produce enough food for Sudanese people,” said Mr Elwaer.

Since mid-April, the conflict between the armed forces of Sudan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has resulted in displacement, death, injury, and a developing humanitarian crisis. This week, UN agencies have verified that more than four million people have been displaced as a result of the conflict, with the majority being within Sudan itself.

The UN humanitarian affairs office,  OCHA, on Wednesday, warned that hunger and displacement due to the war are spiralling out of control.

‘Heinous acts’ in Darfur 

Meanwhile, fighting in Darfur between the RSF, backed by Arab militias and the Sudanese Army is having a severe impact on civilians, the UN Mission in Sudan, UNITAMS, said in a statement on Thursday. 

The mission strongly condemned the indiscriminate targeting of civilians and public facilities by the RSF and allied militias, particularly in the locality of Sirba in West Darfur, from 24 to 26 July. 

UNITMAS also expressed concern over similar incidents in Nyala, South Darfur, and Zalingei, Central Darfur.

“I am alarmed by reports indicating that civilians are being prevented from leaving for safer areas, resulting in numerous casualties. These reports are reminiscent of the violations committed in El Geneina, West Darfur, last June”, said Volker Perthes, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNITAMS.

He said the Mission is documenting all violations, adding that “these heinous acts are serious violations of the human rights of civilians and may constitute war crimes under international law.”

Mr. Perthes reminded everyone involved in the conflict to prioritize the safety and protection of civilians.

UNITAMS urged all military forces to stop their operations immediately and resume talks in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The Mission also reiterated its dedication to support and help with efforts for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

“We stand in solidarity with the people of Darfur and remain dedicated to achieving lasting peace and stability in the region”, Mr. Perthes said.

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