International Rescue Committee

The IRC is calling for full funding at the upcoming UN pledging conference on Sudan given ongoing needs across the region. With greater funding, existing solutions can be scaled up that could potentially save millions of lives.

Marking two months of escalated violence in Sudan, a shocking 25 million people are estimated to be in need of urgent humanitarian assistance and protection, a sharp 57% increase from the number in need at the beginning of 2023. The fighting that started on April 15 between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has caused immense suffering and death, exacerbating the pre-existing humanitarian needs in the country. Civilians, including women and children, have been killed and injured, leading to hundreds of thousands of people being forcibly displaced from their homes in search of safety.

David Miliband, President and CEO of the IRC, said. “On the current trajectory, Sudan will become the next Syria: the world’s largest humanitarian crisis both in terms of people in need and displacement to neighbouring countries and beyond. 25 million people are already in humanitarian need, and the exodus of refugees has already surpassed that of Rohingya refugees to Bangladesh in 2017. Chronic underfunding has plagued both the Sudan response and the region. The worst case scenario - a complex and protracted conflict - would have catastrophic and destabilizing implications for the region, especially for Chad and South Sudan. Sudan could also become a new source of, and new route for, people trying to reach Europe.

With fighting resuming, this week’s pledging conference must fully fund the humanitarian response to meet immediate needs.  It is also a chance to de-escalate the conflict before a major, multi-year crisis takes hold. The risk is that the West will only start paying attention when the crisis reaches its gates. The international community must not squander the opportunity to engage with regional powers for a concerted diplomatic push to halt the slide towards catastrophe.”

Shashwat Saraf, Emergency Director for IRC East Africa said, “More than half the population of Sudan need humanitarian aid and protection. This is the highest number we have ever seen in the country (and) the response plan launched reflects that reality; the funding requirement of nearly $2.6 billion is the highest for any humanitarian appeal for Sudan. IRC has already scaled up its response to meet the needs of the population displaced because of the conflict and people who are still caught in the middle of the conflict with limited access to basic services, however the current funding level for these appeals stands significantly short of what is needed to address the urgent needs of the population.’’

Prior to this crisis, Sudan already had 3.7 million internally displaced persons and hosted over 1 million refugees. As a result of the recent outbreak of violence, over 1 million people have been newly displaced within Sudan, and over 500,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries.

To address the situation, an immediate and sustained ceasefire is urgently needed, followed by full funding of the regional humanitarian appeals, as they are currently only funded at around 23% on average. Efforts to combat food insecurity must be urgently scaled up, involving a wider range of governments, international financial institutions, and local actors at the upcoming conference. 

Full funding of regional humanitarian appeals in Sudan would enable the IRC and other organizations to provide critical assistance in areas such as emergency food and water supplies, healthcare services, education, and protection for vulnerable populations like refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and host communities.

In addition to addressing immediate needs, it is crucial to consider the long-term implications of climate change on food security in Sudan. Climate actors can contribute by supporting initiatives that build resilience and enhance adaptive capacities to climate-related challenges. Their involvement can help develop sustainable solutions that mitigate the impact of climate change on food production and ensure long-term food security. 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Rescue Committee.