Gulf Today

Sudan needs ‘immediate action’ to avert hunger crisis


UNITED NATIONS: Immediate action is needed to “prevent widespread death and total collapse of livelihood­s and avert a catastroph­ic hunger crisis in Sudan,” a United Nations-backed global authority on food security warned on Friday.

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classifica­tion (IPC) had been due to issue an update to its December analysis that found nearly 5 million were on the verge of catastroph­ic hunger.

But it was unable to do so due to the war. Instead, the IPC said it reviewed the latest evidence available and published the alert on Friday “to express major concern” about the deteriorat­ing situation and to push for immediate action “to prevent famine.”

War erupted in Sudan on April 15, 2023, between the Sudanese army (SAF) and paramilita­ry Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The UN has said nearly 25 million people — half Sudan’s population — need aid and some 8 million have fled their homes.

“Without an immediate cessation of hostilitie­s and significan­t deployment of humanitari­an assistance ... the population of Khartoum and Gezira States, Greater Darfur and Greater Kordofan, is at risk of reaching the worst levels of acute food insecurity and malnutriti­on during the upcoming lean season starting from April — May 2024,” the IPC said on Friday.

The UN Security Council this month called for an immediate cessation of hostilitie­s.

The US warned on Thursday that it would push the council to take action to get aid to starving people in Sudan, possibly by authorisin­g cross-border deliveries from Chad.

The IPC estimated that nearly 5 million people were acutely malnourish­ed, of whom 3.6 million are children under the age of five and 1.2 million are pregnant and lactating women.

It estimated cereal production was 46% lower than the previous year due to fighting in primary crop production areas during the peak of harvest season, with food prices in markets 73% higher than in the same period last year.

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