UN official warns Sudan conflict sparks unprecedented humanitarian crisis

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The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths says the war in Sudan is fueling a humanitarian emergency of epic proportions as the viral conflict, coupled with hunger, disease and displacement now threatens to consume the entire country.

Griffiths has warned again that the longer the fighting between the two military factions continued, the more devastating the impact would be. The more than four-month conflict is bringing the country to its knees.

His hard-hitting statement also warned that hundreds of thousands of children were already severely malnourished and were at imminent risk of death if left untreated, with millions displaced inside the country, nearly one million people have fled across borders in an already acutely fragile region.

The UN warns that most people have no access to medical treatment while the conflict has decimated the health care sector with most hospitals out of service.

As the united body’s officials call for humanity to prevail, emphasising that it was well past time for all those fighting to put the people of Sudan above the pursuit of power or resources.

UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Spokesperson, Jens Laerke says, “The fighting has internally displaced more than 3.6 million people, while nearly one million have fled across the borders.

A protracted conflict in Sudan could tip the entire region into a humanitarian catastrophe. This conflict is not getting, one, the international attention that it deserves and secondly, those fighting the conflict are not adhering in any shape or form to international humanitarian law, and the civilians are the victims of this.”

The UN further warns that vector-borne diseases are spreading posing a lethal risk, especially to those already weakened by malnutrition.

World Health Organisation (WHO) Spokesperson Tarik Jasarevi says, “There are reports of dengue, measles, acute watery diarrhoea, but also of severe acute malnutrition. So, just give you some numbers. There were like 2199 suspected measles cases, with 30 deaths, 300 acute watery diarrhoea, and seven deaths. Malaria cases as well. But again, reporting is not easy, so all these are just underestimates.”

As the intense fighting continues to ravage the capital Khartoum in addition to other regions of the country where humanitarian offices have been ransacked and supplies looted.

Jasarevi says, “War and hunger could consume Sudan if those fighting in this conflict do not put the people of Sudan above their pursuit of power and resources. From the capital, Khartoum, and Darfur, the war has gone viral and is now spreading to Kordofan.”

While pervasive conflict related sexual-violence continues to be a growing concern with the US State Department pointing to reports of rape, gang rape and other forms of gender based violence.

UN Secretary-General’s Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric says, “In West Darfur, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has deployed health and social workers to support thousands of displaced and vulnerable women and girls with reproductive health care and protection services, including for survivors of gender-based violence. And in eastern Sudan yesterday (Tuesday), UNFPA delivered enough reproductive health supplies to support 150 000 women and girls for three months at the Port Sudan Maternity Hospital. In Gedaref State, teams from the UN Refugee Agency have been distributing cash assistance to more than 830 Sudanese families forced to flee the conflict.”

All this while a $2.6 billion humanitarian appeal for Sudan remains critically underfunded. Of additional concern is the posture on the ground with the leader of the Sudan Armed Forces General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Monday denouncing the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces as “traitors”, promising a decisive victory and rejecting RSF calls for negotiations towards ending the war. The UN has long communicated that a military victory was unlikely and that any such effort would only serve to destroy the country.

VIDEO: Joy, relief as South Africans arrive from Sudan: