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Famine threatens Sudan – the fighting moves ever closer to the besieged metropolis

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Sudanese children suffering from malnutrition receive treatment at a clinic run by Doctors Without Borders in a refugee camp in Chad. Photo: Patricia Simon / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 05/05/2024 10:24:31

Economy and business: In December, at least 1.7 million people in Darfur experienced dangerous levels of hunger, and today the number is believed to be far higher, according to Leni Kinzli, spokesperson for the World Food Organization (WFP).

– Our requests for humanitarian access to the worst conflict areas in Sudan have never been more critical, she said at a press conference in Nairobi at the weekend.

– One year of this devastating war in Sudan has created a hunger disaster we have not seen before, and there is a danger that it could trigger the world’s biggest hunger crisis, emphasizes Kinzli.

She points out that almost 28 million people lack food in Sudan, South Sudan and Chad, and that the conflict is spreading.

Before the war, El-Fasher had barely 300,000 inhabitants. Now there are also half a million internally displaced people living in the city, where the situation was relatively peaceful until mid-April.

However, after a weeks-long RSF siege describes United Nations the situation as catastrophic. At the end of April, the US also issued an ominous warning that the RSF plans to move into the city.

– El Fasher is on the brink of a large-scale massacre. That is the grim reality millions of people are facing, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the press after a UN Security Council meeting on Sudan.

One of the city’s residents, the English teacher Osman Mohammed, speaks up BBC that people are very afraid.

– We all live in great fear and constant worry about what awaits us in the next few days, says the 31-year-old.

Greengrocer and father of five Mohammed Ali Adam Mohamed has no doubts about what will happen if fighting breaks out in the city.

– If fighting breaks out between the RSF and the army inside the city, we civilians will become the victims, he says

– Recent reports from our partners indicate that 20 children have died of malnutrition in the camp in recent weeks. People eat grass and peanut shells. And if help does not reach them soon, we risk seeing widespread hunger and death in Darfur and in other war-affected areas in Sudan, she says.

The international community must do more to pressure the warring parties to ensure access for aid workers and aid convoys, she believes.

The international community has so far given the war in Sudan little attention, both in terms of money and diplomacy.

The UN has received only 5 percent of what it needs to help the 24 million Sudanese who are dependent on emergency aid. And international diplomacy to resolve the crisis is largely absent.

The two were both part of the junta that seized power in autumn 2021. But eventually they ended up in an intense power struggle, which led to RSF leader Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo taking up arms to take power from the country’s leader Abdel Fattah Burhan.

The coup that both generals were part of put an end to the democratic process that was pushed forward when tens of thousands of ordinary Sudanese participated in mass protests against the country’s former authoritarian regime.

According to Kinzli, the fighting and endless bureaucratic obstacles have meant that the WFP has not been able to deliver emergency aid to over 700,000 people in Darfur before the rainy season sets in. Then many roads will become impassable.

– WFP now has 8,000 tonnes of food that is ready to be sent from Chad, which is ready for transport, but which it is not possible to send because of these obstacles, she says.

The press conference was held at a time when there is great concern about what will happen if the RSF militia moves into El Fasher, the provincial capital of North Darfur.

The rebel militia RSF has secured control over large parts of Darfur after a year of war, but not over El Fasher.

Kinzli says that on Friday she received photos from colleagues who work in a camp for displaced people in central Darfur. They show malnourished children and the elderly, who, according to Kinzli, have only “skin and bones” left.

Sudan was thrown into chaos when street fighting broke out in the capital, Khartoum, in April last year. The dispute is between the country’s two most powerful generals, who control the government forces and the RSF militia respectively.

On Thursday, two drivers working for the Red Cross were killed in South Darfur.

(© NTB)

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