Geneva — The United Nations and its partners today appealed for a combined US$4.1 billion to meet the most urgent humanitarian needs of civilians in war-torn Sudan and those who have fled to neighbouring countries.
Ten months since the conflict erupted, half of Sudan's population - some 25 million people - needs humanitarian assistance and protection. More than 1.5 million people have fled across Sudan's borders to the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Sudan.
The expansion of fighting in Sudan - including to the country's breadbasket, Aj Jazirah - has created one of the world's largest displacement and protection crises. Hunger is rampant, with nearly 18 million people facing acute food insecurity.
Intense hostilities continue to damage water supply networks and other critical civilian infrastructure in Sudan, and nearly three quarters of health facilities are out of service in conflict-affected states. Diseases including cholera, measles and malaria are spreading at a time when two thirds of the population lack access to health care. Some 19 million children are out of school. Human rights violations are widespread, with continued reports of gender-based violence.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) coordinates the response inside Sudan, with this year's Humanitarian Needs and Response Plan calling for $2.7 billion to reach 14.7 million people. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, coordinates the Regional Refugee Response Plan, which requests $1.4 billion and targets nearly 2.7 million people in five countries neighbouring Sudan.
Together, both plans aim to support some 17.4 million people in Sudan and the region.
"Ten months of conflict have robbed the people of Sudan of nearly everything - their safety, their homes and their livelihoods," said the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths. "The generosity of donors helps us provide food and nutrition, shelter, clean water, and education for children, and to fight the scourge of gender-based violence and care for the survivors. But last year's appeal was less than half funded. This year, we must do better and with a heightened sense of urgency."
The war has so far forced more than 1.5 million people to flee to neighbouring countries that already had overstretched resources and were hosting large refugee populations. They include refugees and people compelled to return to their home countries prematurely. Most of them are arriving in remote and difficult-to-access locations that lack essential services. Support for the humanitarian response is crucial, but investments to strengthen national services and community resilience are equally critical to support host Governments and enable people to live in dignity.
"I just met with displaced families in Ethiopia and inside Sudan - they have lost so much," said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi. "Time after time, we hear the same message from them: We want peace so we can go home, and we need support to rebuild our lives. People are doing the best they can to get by with the basic support the humanitarian partners can give them. I urge the international community to step up their support for the people of Sudan. They desperately need help, and they need it now."