Sudanese people’s dire plight should not be ignored

Sudanese people’s dire plight should not be ignored

The Sudan conflict, which is now in its 10th month, has caused a dire humanitarian crisis (File/AFP)
The Sudan conflict, which is now in its 10th month, has caused a dire humanitarian crisis (File/AFP)
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The protracted conflict in Sudan, which is now in its 10th month, has caused a dire humanitarian crisis that is inflicting profound suffering upon millions, both within the country and in neighboring nations. The repercussions of this war are particularly acute for women and children, who bear the brunt of the devastating effects.

As the situation unfolds, the pervasive hardships extend beyond national borders, casting a wide-reaching shadow of distress that demands urgent attention and concerted international efforts to alleviate the plight of those affected by the conflict.

Sudan currently bears the unfortunate distinction of harboring the highest number of displaced individuals globally, also marking it out as the center of the world’s most extensive child displacement crisis. Commenting on the enduring repercussions of the conflict, which began last April, Marie David, the acting country director of CARE Sudan, said: “Loss of life, mass displacement, gender-based violence, hunger, cholera are all on the rise and occurring at an alarming rate. Between 70 and 80 percent of hospitals in conflict-affected areas are no longer functional. This crisis demands more attention, and funding.”

New data from the International Organization for Migration reveals a staggering 10.7 million people displaced by conflicts in Sudan, including 9 million who remain within the country. This organization is requesting coordinated international efforts to urgently enhance the humanitarian response and address the colossal displacement crisis. Among the displaced, 1.7 million have sought refuge in neighboring countries, with the majority (62 percent) of these being Sudanese.

This mass displacement is exacerbating humanitarian needs in an already deeply troubled region

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

Chad hosts the highest percentage of those leaving Sudan at 37 percent, followed by South Sudan at 30 percent and Egypt at 24 percent, while Ethiopia, Libya and the Central African Republic host the remaining refugees. This mass displacement is exacerbating humanitarian needs in an already deeply troubled region.

Amy Pope, director general of the International Organization for Migration, said: “As of today, one in every eight internally displaced persons in the world is in Sudan.” She highlighted the overwhelming needs of these displaced individuals, including critical shortages of food, shelter, healthcare and sanitation. This is placing them at heightened risk of disease, malnutrition and violence.

Despite the severity of the situation, the current humanitarian response falls short of meeting these critical needs. As Pope emphasized, it is important not to turn away from the millions of people who are in desperate need of support.

The protracted conflict in Sudan continues to exact a severe toll on the lives of ordinary citizens. The widespread devastation extends to critical infrastructure, encompassing healthcare facilities, educational institutions, transport networks and essential utilities such as power and water. This extensive damage has significantly curtailed access to fundamental necessities and essential, life-saving services, plunging communities into desperate circumstances. The resulting scarcity has not only led to heightened susceptibility to disease outbreaks, hunger and malnutrition, but has also exacerbated the vulnerability of the population to sexual and gender-based violence.

Women and girls find themselves particularly at risk within the prevailing chaos. This underscores the urgent need for comprehensive humanitarian intervention.

Expressing the challenges she faces, Manal Adam Yousif, a woman in her 20s from the town of Nyala in South Darfur state, told UN Women: “Unfortunately, our house and all other houses in the neighborhoods were robbed. So, I am very afraid for the rest of my family. We just fled with the clothes we are wearing … winter brings many diseases.” She went on to share the difficulties she is encountering, mentioning that her son and several other children are unwell. Yousif also highlighted her financial constraints, stating: “I do not have the money to take (my son) to the hospital. I hope the war will stop and there will be safety and stability so that we can return to our homes and families.”

The international community must ensure the safety of women and girls in conflict-affected areas

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

Addressing this crisis requires a comprehensive and coordinated approach, including mobilizing international humanitarian organizations and governments to provide immediate and sustained aid to the affected regions. They need to deliver emergency relief supplies, including food, clean water, medical supplies and shelter, to address the pressing needs of displaced individuals, as well as initiate efforts to restore some of the critical infrastructure to enhance people’s access to essential services.

Another approach would be to establish mobile healthcare units and clinics to provide medical assistance to those facing health challenges. This would address issues such as disease outbreaks, malnutrition and the general well-being of the population. It would also facilitate access to medical care, especially for vulnerable groups like children, women and the elderly.

In addition, the international community must ensure the safety of women and girls in conflict-affected areas. Temporary learning spaces can also be set up in order to ensure that children affected by displacement continue to have access to education.

Finally, there is a need for robust diplomatic efforts and negotiations to bring about an end to the conflict.

In a nutshell, the dire situation in Sudan underscores the profound and far-reaching impacts of this conflict, particularly on the lives of ordinary individuals. There is an urgent need for a comprehensive and coordinated response from the international community.

  • Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist. X: @Dr_Rafizadeh
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