Sudan envoys discuss humanitarian relief

Workers unload aid from World Health Organization and UAE-AID from United Arab Emirates at the Port Sudan International Airport, Port Sudan, Sudan, May 5, 2023. [Reuters]

Envoys from both of Sudan’s warring factions are in Saudi Arabia to arrange for the opening of humanitarian corridors in Sudan. The parties have insisted that they are only sitting across from each other to bring some relief to the humanitarian situation in the North African country and not to negotiate a truce.

The pre-negotiation talks began Saturday. The Saudi kingdom has already pledged that it will provide Sudan with $100 million’s worth of humanitarian aid.

Fighting erupted in Sudan in mid-April. After just a few weeks of fighting between the country’s military and a paramilitary force, hundreds of thousands of Sudanese have been forced to flee from their homes, with many of the displaced Sudanese seeking refuge in bordering countries.

The two sides – Sudan’s military, led by General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, led by General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo – have not met since the fighting erupted April 15.

Fragile cease-fire agreements have failed to end the conflict or even do much to reduce the violence.

The United Nations migration agency said recently that at least 334,000 people have been internally displaced by the fighting, in addition to the 100,000 who have fled the country. The U.N. refugee agency has warned the fighting could cause more than 800,000 to flee Sudan.

Most aid operations have been suspended or severely scaled back due to the lack of security. Several aid workers have been killed in the fighting.

Looting also has hampered aid operations.

The World Food Program said nearly 17,000 tons of food worth between $13 million and $14 million have been stolen from its warehouses across Sudan.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said recently it has launched an emergency appeal to support the Sudanese Red Crescent Society in its effort to deliver assistance to 200,000 people.