What humanitarian assessment in Sudan, one month after the start of the war?

Twenty-five million people need humanitarian aid in Sudan, the UN said on Wednesday after more than a month of a power struggle between General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane’s army and paramilitaries. of the Rapid Support Forces (FSR), of General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo. 20 minutes looks back on the disastrous humanitarian toll of this war which has already caused nearly a thousand deaths, and while the fighting is once again shaking the houses of several districts of Khartoum and the UN has revised upwards its calls for funds.

What are the origins of the conflict in Sudan?

A struggle at the top of the state, devastating consequences. Since April 15, fighting has pitted the troops of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, head of the army and de facto ruler of Sudan, against Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, leader of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). In 2021, the two generals seized power by organizing a putsch, but have since become rivals. The FSR, created in 2013, brings together thousands of former Janjawids, Arab militiamen recruited by the former dictator Omar el-Bashir, ousted in 2019, to fight ethnic minorities in Darfur. Long latent and confined to negotiations on the conditions of integration of the FSR into regular troops, to finalize a political agreement on the return of civilians to power, the conflict between the two generals turned into an armed struggle.

Very quickly, the combat zones extended to several districts of Kharthoum, the capital, populated by five million inhabitants terrorized by the situation. Airstrikes, tanks in the streets, urban guerrillas… Then the conflict quickly spread to other regions, notably to Darfur, one of the poorest areas of Sudan.

Behind this war, explain the experts, there is also competition between populations who historically monopolize power and resources and the most marginalized components of this ethnic mosaic.

Where is the armed conflict, a month later?

On Wednesday, the fighting again shook the houses of several districts of Khartoum, the capital with deserted streets. Despite the chaos that reigns in Khartoum and especially in the Darfur region, bordering Chad, where tribal fighters and armed civilians are involved in the fighting, negotiations for a humanitarian truce seem to be going nowhere. On Wednesday, the official Sudanese agency broadcast for the first time a video of General Burhane in the midst of jubilant soldiers in front of a charred building of the army headquarters in Khartoum.

In Jeddah, where an Arab League summit is being held tomorrow, Friday, the heads of Egyptian and Saudi diplomacy as well as the head of the Arab League have said they are in favor of a ceasefire, but without suggest outlines.

The Arab countries are deeply divided on Sudan: Egypt is allied with General Burhane, the United Arab Emirates with General Daglo and Ryad maintains links with the two camps. Diplomatic efforts are nevertheless increasing because neighboring countries fear a contagion. “If the conflict continues, there will be more and more risks that external actors will be involved”, warned this Thursday the Rift Valley Institute, while already, Sudan and its gold mines have become a coveted destination. by mercenaries and foreign fighters.

What is the humanitarian record?

More than one in two Sudanese needs humanitarian aid, the UN said on Wednesday. After a month of fighting that left nearly a thousand dead, about 840,000 displaced and 220,000 refugees, the UN has revised its appeals upwards, indicating that it needs 2.6 billion dollars for aid. in Sudan. “Today, 25 million people – more than half of Sudan’s population – are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection,” said UN Humanitarian Affairs chief Ramesh Rajasingham.

Added to this is nearly half a billion dollars to help refugees who have fled to neighboring countries. These refugees will number more than a million in total this year, the UN predicts.

Before the war launched on April 15, already one in three people suffered from hunger in this country of 45 million inhabitants. Today, food is becoming increasingly scarce. In Khartoum, those who did not flee are holed up in their homes, forced to ration and run out of money as the banks are closed.

Why is food aid late in coming?

Because the food industry, already on its knees after twenty years of embargo under the dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir, which ended in 2019, is bombarded like homes, hospitals and institutions in Khartoum and other cities . The Samil factory, which produced “60% of nutritional treatments for children with severe nutritional deficiencies”, according to UNICEF, went up in smoke. Humanitarian aid has been looted. Doctors Without Borders announced that “armed men entered (its) warehouse in Khartoum on Tuesday to loot” at least “two vehicles full of supplies”.

Gathered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the representatives of the belligerents are supposed to draw humanitarian corridors to let civilians out and help in, without progress. Yet, argues Michael Dunford, Regional Director of the World Food Program (WFP), “it is vital that humanitarians have access, resources and security guarantees to effectively support those who depend on them to survive”.

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