5 min read

Essential services in an overlooked tragedy

July 4, 2024
by Medair
Bringing Hope and Aid to Sudan's Forgotten Communities

A neglected humanitarian emergency

The worst internal displacement crisis of our time continues to rage in Sudan. More than 10 million people are on the run: more than in any other country in the world. Many have lost loved ones in the fighting; most have lost their jobs and all have lost their homes. Despite its unprecedented scale, the crisis in Sudan is currently one of the most neglected crises according to a respected recent study by the Norwegian Refugee Council. This is - to put it mildly - very sad. Little public attention usually means little financial support for aid projects that could benefit the desperate people on the ground in the crisis region. This is no different here: the United Nations Humanitarian Response Plan for 2024 is desperately underfunded, with only 16% of the required funds in place at mid-year. Some 25 million people, more than half the population, are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. But very few have access to it.

With the resources it has, Medair is courageously carrying out its mission in the most difficult of circumstances. Despite access constraints, insecurity, and huge logistical challenges, we were able to launch new projects in Khartoum and White Nile State, in addition to our ongoing efforts in Blue Nile.  

Providing essential household items (NFIs) to those left in the heart of the conflict zone

Since the outbreak of hostilities between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on April 15, 2023, Khartoum has transformed dramatically. Once a bustling capital, it has become one of the most dangerous places for civilians, not only due to ongoing clashes but also because access to basic services has been severely disrupted. Medair’s team, who are also part of the affected community, have found creative methods to assist the most vulnerable in Khartoum. Often facing significant risks, our team has distributed crucial non-food items (NFIs) such as blankets, buckets, water containers, and plastic sheeting to displaced families, helping them regain dignity and hope. So far, our team in Khartoum has successfully distributed these essential kits to over 2,775 households.

Medair's team prepares an NFI kit for a woman in Khartoum. The kit contains blankets, buckets, water containers, plastic sheeting and more. © Medair

Responding to a Cholera Outbreak

The White Nile region has experienced a surge of internally displaced persons (IDPs), especially from areas near Khartoum. The temporary shelters in these displacement camps and informal settlements often lack proper sanitation and access to clean water, making them vulnerable to waterborne diseases like cholera. In these crowded camps, cholera can spread rapidly due to close contact and inadequate hygiene. When a cholera outbreak was declared in White Nile State, Medair's team took swift action. Our staff provided cholera hygiene kits, which included soap and chlorine, and supplied local health facilities with essential hospital materials. To strengthen the affected communities and lower the risk of disease transmission, we also conducted awareness sessions and trained local health promoters. 790 households have received Cash Assistance in Medair’s project.

In one of our cholera awareness sessions, we met Zahra, a former teacher from Khartoum who fled from the conflict. Having lost both her home and her job, life has changed a lot. She shares:

“I do not have any place to stay, nothing to work and earn money for my family. This is a big challenge we now face. Your NFI and hygiene kits already brought an improvement. You provided them at the right time. We were in big need of them at that time.”  

Zahra in a conversation with Medair's staff after a cholera awareness session in White Nile. © Medair

Comprehensive Services for Communities Impacted by Long-Term Crises

Despite not being a major battleground in the conflict between armed forces, Blue Nile has seen a sharp rise in humanitarian needs. The region has endured years of inter-communal violence, displacement, natural disasters, and disease outbreaks, leaving the community vulnerable, resorting to increasingly negative coping strategies. As Medair's longest-running project, our team has shown unwavering commitment and adaptability in facing the challenges brought by recent conflicts.

We run health facilities across multiple locations and deploy mobile clinics to reach remote communities that lack essential health and nutrition services. Collaborating with partners, we enhance critical infrastructure at health facilities by installing solar systems, incinerators, hand-washing stations, and water tanks. Our skilled staff ensures safe deliveries in our maternity clinics and treats severely malnourished children under five with additional medical complications in our stabilization center.

In one of the health facilities we support, a pregnant mother, Soraya was treated. A 35-year-old mother of five, she lost not only many relatives in the conflict but also her home, cattle, and crops. After one of her children died of starvation in an IDP camp, she lost hope and contemplated suicide.

"I was so depressed that I wanted to be in the center of the fighting and get killed there," she reveals. But her responsibility for her other children kept her going. And Soraya got pregnant again. Faced with challenges during her pregnancy due to a lack of financial resources, Medair paid for her medication, transportation to the hospital, and delivery. "You also paid for my food while I was in the hospital," she recalls. "I would like to thank Medair and the donors for their great services to people in need. I can't thank them enough, but I will always keep them in my prayers.”  

Stories of suffering are a sad reality in Sudan. Our team hears them every day and is committed to providing essential services to those in need. Soraya's smile in the photo below shows how much it means to her to have access to free health services, and how grateful she is for the support of Medair and its supporters.

Soraya smiles brightly after receiving financial support for her delivery by Medair. © Medair

An Overlooked Crisis

Sudan is experiencing the largest displacement crisis globally, with UN experts predicting it will become the worst hunger crisis in 2024. The humanitarian community is struggling to bring attention to this severe situation. Organizations like Medair are striving to make a difference despite limited resources, facing obstacles such as restricted access by authorities, security risks, and major logistical challenges. However, without adequate financial support, addressing the needs of the population is increasingly difficult. Funding shortages are forcing humanitarian workers to make tough decisions about prioritizing services in an ever-worsening situation.

Medair remains dedicated to Sudan, but we need your support to reach more people and restore hope to those who have lost everything and are living in uncertainty. Your generosity will have a direct impact and save lives in this neglected crisis. Please stand with the forgotten people of Sudan during one of the world's most severe humanitarian emergencies of our time.

Medair services in Sudan are funded by USAID, the EU, Swiss Solidarity, and private donors.

This content was produced with resources gathered by Medair field and headquarters staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of any other organisation.  
July 4, 2024
by Medair
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