Dina Mahmoud (Khartoum, London)
Amid the international community’s focus on the escalating situation in the Gaza Strip, the ongoing battles between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces in Sudan have entered their eighth month. Civilians are paying a heavy toll due to the continuation of the fighting, which has so far claimed the lives of over 10,000 people, in addition to displacing millions of others.
Experts and analysts criticised the international community’s lack of attention to this conflict, even though the crisis has regional and international implications. They stressed that intensified efforts are needed to find a settlement to the ongoing crisis. This is particularly pressing after the number of people in need of assistance in this strategically located Northeast African country has reached nearly 25 million.
The battles have led to one of the worst displacement and refugee crises in the world, especially for children. More than six million Sudanese have been forced to flee their homes, with over 4.8 million becoming internally displaced and another 1.2 million becoming refugees in neighbouring countries.
Children make up half of the Sudanese displaced and refugee population. This has prompted UNICEF to warn that the current conflict in Sudan has caused “the world’s largest child displacement crisis”. As a result, nearly 14 million children nationwide need humanitarian assistance, including food, shelter, and healthcare services.
The severity of this humanitarian crisis is compounded by the fact that over 70% of healthcare facilities in Sudan have been forced to close their doors amid the ongoing fighting.
There is fear of a cholera outbreak in areas affected by the battles, particularly in Khartoum and South Kordofan states, with concerns that the epidemic could spiral out of control, as stated by Martin Griffiths, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
In statements published by the “Atlanta Black Star” website, analysts warned that the international community’s efforts, particularly those of the United States, have not yet made significant progress in persuading the parties to the crisis to reach a permanent ceasefire. However, they noted that both sides had recently pledged to improve the delivery of humanitarian aid to the conflict-affected areas in Sudan.