Sudan One Year On: It’s Time to End the Silence

11 April 2024

A catastrophic and largely overlooked year-long war in Sudan has led to a humanitarian disaster that UN officials describe as "one of the worst humanitarian nightmares in recent history." The relentless fighting has forced nearly 9 million people to flee their homes and triggered a widespread food security crisis, with 18 million people facing acute hunger and reported deaths due to starvation.

Repeated warnings of famine risk have largely been ignored. Humanitarian needs are increasing daily as aid groups continue to face serious access challenges, and the financial resources needed to get aid to tens of millions of people dry up due to what can only be called global indifference. 

Mercy Corps Country Director for Sudan, Sibongani Kayola, says:

"The world has failed the Sudanese people for far too long. For 12 months, the people of Sudan have endured unimaginable suffering, with millions now facing starvation amid rampant reports of grave human rights violations. Women and children bear the worst brunt of this war: displacement, the horrors of sexual violence, and the relentless grip of hunger. 

“Immediate food access and the future of farming in Sudan are at risk. 80% of the population relies on agriculture for income, and the conflict has devastated Sudan's agricultural backbone. Most farms have nothing left, as many farmers have been displaced or had to abandon their farms for fear of attacks. In relatively calm areas, most farmers could not plant crops due to their inability to buy seeds and other agricultural inputs. Our own recent remote sensing analysis shows a decline in vegetation, indicating harvests may be significantly below the average yield, and the impending lean season is likely to push people deeper into hunger.” 

“Despite significant challenges, aid workers, locally-led initiatives, and volunteers are providing lifelines to those trapped in conflict or hard-to-reach areas. Still, the current level of humanitarian assistance provided is drastically insufficient compared to the overwhelming needs. The people of Sudan urgently need global support to survive and eventually start rebuilding their lives, but we must silence the guns first. People’s suffering won’t end until there is a stop to the fighting.  

“As the tragedies that gripped Darfur 20 years ago threaten to resurface on a much larger scale, regional and world leaders must act decisively to mediate an end to the fighting and ensure aid reaches those who are in desperate need. We also call for an immediate commitment from the international community to quickly provide the crucial flexible funding required to reduce the risk of famine in Sudan.

“We can't wait for more lives to be lost due to hunger and war. It's time to break the silence.”