WFP warns against worsening starvation in Sudan

Displaced people receive food donations from the World Food Programme (WFP) at Akuom Boma, Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, South Sudan, on Feb. 28, 2024. [Xinhua]

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) warned on Friday that Sudan's hunger crisis will worsen unless its people receive a constant flow of aid via all possible humanitarian corridors.

Eddie Rowe, WFP representative and country director in Sudan, said in a statement "I fear that we will see unprecedented levels of starvation and malnutrition sweep across Sudan in this lean season."

He noted that the temporary halt of the humanitarian  corridor from Chad, the ongoing fighting, lengthy clearance processes for humanitarian cargo, bureaucratic impediments, and security threats have made it impossible for humanitarians to operate at the scale needed to meet the hunger needs in Sudan.

"All corridors to transport food must remain open, particularly the one from Adre in Chad to West Darfur state where levels of hunger are alarming," Rowe said.

Meanwhile, the WFP and its partners urgently need security guarantees, so that supplies in North Darfur state can be distributed to people struggling to find even one basic meal a day, Rowe stressed.

The statement also mentioned that the WFP has managed to bring desperately needed food and nutrition supplies into Darfur, the first WFP assistance will reach the war-wracked region in months.

Two convoys crossed the border in late March from Chad into Darfur, carrying food and nutrition assistance for around 250,000 people facing acute hunger in North, West and Central Darfur.

These are the first cross-border convoys of WFP assistance to reach Darfur following lengthy negotiations to reopen these routes, after the authorities in Port Sudan revoked permissions for humanitarian corridors from Chad in February, according to the statement.

According to the UN, half of Sudan's population, some 25 million people, need humanitarian assistance and protection, with nearly 18 million people facing acute food insecurity.

Since April 15, 2023, Sudan has experienced violent confrontations between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, resulting in the displacement of around 8.1 million individuals, including 6.3 million internally.

A report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs indicated in March that the conflict had claimed approximately 13,900 lives, referencing data from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project.