Sudan one of world's 'worst crises' in decades

What you need to know:

  • The conflict, which began in April 2023, has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and displaced more than nine million people

Port Sudan. The ongoing civil war in Sudan has provoked one of the world's worst humanitarian crises in decades, the international chief of the medical charity Doctors Without Borders said Thursday.

War has raged for more than a year between the regular military under army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces led by his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.

"Sudan is one of the worst crises the world has seen for decades... yet the humanitarian response is profoundly inadequate," said Christos Christou, international president of Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

"There are extreme levels of suffering across the country, and the needs are growing by the day," he said in a post on social media platform X.

The conflict, which began in April 2023, has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and displaced more than nine million people -- the world's worst internal displacement crisis -- according to the United Nations.

Both sides have been accused of war crimes including deliberately targeting civilians, indiscriminate shelling of residential areas and blocking humanitarian aid, despite warnings that millions are on the brink of starvation.

Rights groups and the United States have also accused the paramilitaries of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

MSF's intervention is the latest in a series of dire warnings over human suffering in Sudan. Last week, as it pledged another $315 million in aid to the country, the United States warned of historic famine in the country.

Faltering diplomacy

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told reporters hunger in Sudan could reach levels unseen since the famine in Ethiopia in the early 1980s when as many as 1.2 million people died.

UN agencies have also repeatedly warned of the perilous humanitarian situation in the country, and famine, amid repeated international calls for a ceasefire.

In an interview with AFP on Wednesday, Filippo Grandi, the head of the UN refugee agency, said humanitarian access to the country remained woefully inadequate, despite a "little bit of progress in the last few weeks".

"We are asking all the parties to give access to humanitarians because our presence there is insufficient to help the people in need, and especially to bring the food and the other supplies that are needed for people that otherwise risk starvation," he said during a visit to Juba in South Sudan.

UN estimates say that five million people inside Sudan suffer extreme hunger, with food lacking also in neighbouring countries where two million Sudanese have fled.

Repeated US-led efforts to end the conflict have failed, with many observers concluding that the warring generals each think they can win on the ground.

A number of foreign powers have supported rival forces. Sudan expelled diplomats from the United Arab Emirates on allegations of fuelling the RSF, while Egypt, Turkey and Iran have backed the army.

Recent fighting in El-Fasher, the last city in Darfur outside RSF control, has killed more than 220 people, according to Doctors Without Borders.

The UN Security Council on Thursday demanded that the RSF halt the siege, with all countries voting in favour except Russia, which abstained.

Sudan's UN ambassador Al-Harith Idriss al-Harith Mohamed on Tuesday criticised the UAE in the middle of a Security Council meeting, accusing the Gulf state of fomenting conflict in his country, a charge rejected by the Emirati envoy.

Talks last year in the Saudi port city of Jeddah, brokered by the United States and Saudi Arabia, only briefly paused fighting and a US push to restart the process has been unsuccessful.