5 min read

The Forgotten Crisis in Sudan

June 26, 2024
by Medair
Medair remains committed to staying on the ground

Trapped in a nightmare

Imagine being displaced alongside tens of millions of others in your homeland, forced into the most significant internal displacement crisis of our time. The consequences for you are severe. There is a lack of food, clean water, safe shelter, and poor access to health services. Your life is in ruins, under bombardment, and despite desperately needing help, it is nowhere to be found because your plight is largely unnoticed.

The world’s attention is elsewhere, leaving the people of Sudan trapped in this nightmare alone. Public interest waned after the conflict in Khartoum escalated on April 15, 2023, while the suffering in Sudan grows daily and becomes increasingly dire.

Internally displaced community in Blue Nile state.
Internally displaced community in Blue Nile state. © Medair

A grave warning

The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), the forum for coordinating humanitarian aid at the highest level within the United Nations system, has issued a grave warning in its latest publication. According to IASC representatives, the situation in Sudan has reached catastrophic levels, and time is running out for those affected. Twenty-five million people, over half of the population, urgently need humanitarian aid. The displaced face acute hunger, with 18 million people already suffering from severe hunger and 3.6 million children acutely malnourished. Civilians are frequently caught in the crossfire, enduring horrific violence. Numerous hospitals and schools have been destroyed. The hardship in numbers often seems too great to be tangible when you read from afar. But behind these figures are sad individual fates, stories of suffering that get under your skin when you meet the people who have had to experience them and who tell them.

Displaced multiple times

Enam has spent nearly her entire life as an internally displaced person (IDP), fleeing multiple times due to intercommunal conflicts. Now sheltering near one of Medair’s health and nutrition facilities after another recent displacement, she shares her story while seeking aid for her sick niece:

“I lived near the market and suddenly saw flames and smoke rising. It was hard to flee. The attackers had closed most of the roads already and were waiting for us with weapons. If you were from a certain tribe, they would kill you immediately. We sold the crops that we were able to harvest to have money for transportation to another place. It was the rainy season, and the roads were bumpy and muddy. The movement was difficult.”

A Sudanese woman and a four-year-old child in a health facility of a humanitarian organisation.
Enam with her four-year-old niece in one of Medair’s facilities. © Medair

Stories like Enam’s are all too common in Sudan, yet the assistance is insufficient. Many IDPs are cut off from humanitarian aid, as the nationwide conflict severely hampers access. Border crossings are often closed, and aid is delayed or blocked. Humanitarian workers face frequent attacks, and relief supplies are looted. Without significant changes, many more lives will be lost unnecessarily. With the rainy season starting, the IASC predicts the outbreak of famine in large parts of the country if more aid cannot be provided as quickly as possible.

We are still there

Under these difficult circumstances, Medair’s team continues to provide assistance to the displaced Enam and her sick niece, and thousands of other hard-to-reach people in Khartoum, Blue Nile and White Nile states. A small glimmer of hope with a big impact on individuals in an overwhelming crisis for those affected, and for the aid organisations themselves.

Humanitarian aid workers in Sudan screening a girl for malnutrition with the MUAC method (Mid-Upper-Arm-Circumference).
Medair’s mobile clinic team screening a girl for malnutrition with the MUAC method (Mid-Upper-Arm-Circumference). © Medair

We are committed to standing with the people of Sudan and are constantly trying to find new ways to scale up our activities. Our courageous team is trying their best every day to serve the needy with all their heart, and we feel that we still can make a big difference for each person, one at a time. But with the annual humanitarian response plan of the UN only being funded by 16 percent as of June 2024, we ask our community to step into the gap and donate to save lives with us in Sudan.” – Dorette Smit, Acting Country Director for Medair in Sudan

Together, we make a difference

Thanks to the generous support of our donors, our team can help individuals like Enam and her niece. Her testimony serves as an encouragement for our entire team, and for everyone involved in our mission:

“From where I am living now, Medair’s services are easy to access without any difficulties. I came here today because my four-year-old niece has a fever and a respiratory infection. I knew that Medair provides free health and nutrition services at this facility, and I received the necessary care for my niece. She was registered, a lab test was conducted, and medication was provided. You helped us tremendously, as we are unable to cover the treatment costs on our own. I am deeply grateful for your support.”

A Sudanese woman and her niece during treatment in a health and nutrition facility of a humanitarian organisation.
Enam and her niece during treatment in Medair’s facility. © Medair

As international agencies predict that the humanitarian situation in Sudan will continue to deteriorate, it is even more important that our work shows the people of Sudan that they are not forgotten, and that help is still available. Medair is still working in Sudan and will continue to do so. We are not looking away. And when the road ends, we keep going.

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.

June 26, 2024
by Medair
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