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Famine Looms in Sudan as Conflict Decimates Fragile Food Systems

April 3, 2024 – The ongoing conflict in Sudan is rapidly pushing millions of people already facing hunger, further toward the brink of famine. Shockingly, estimates suggest that severe malnutrition threatens at least 730,000 children who could die in the coming months. The conflict has displaced over 8.5 million people, 6.5 million within the country, leading to chronic disruptions to agricultural production while hindering access to critical food supplies. Reports indicate that 90% of the people facing acute hunger are in hard-to-reach areas.

“The situation in Sudan is becoming increasingly dire. People are starving in their homes for fear of venturing out and the condition deteriorates with every passing day as the conflict continues,” said Marie David, CARE Country Director for Sudan. “Lack of market access has left farmers with no fuel or supplies, crippling agriculture and accelerating food system collapse.”

Fierce fighting has also devastated agricultural production in Sudan. Coupled with numerous roadblocks, traders, farmers, and the public are constantly faced with the threat of intimidation, blackmail, and death. This has forced many people, across the country, to limit their movements thus causing a severe impact on food production. West Darfur state faces severe crop failure, with yield reductions of up to 80% in Greater Kordofan and Greater Darfur. Nationwide, cereal production has plummeted by 46%. Women, who often play a central role in agricultural production, are disproportionately impacted by the disruptions, losing vital livelihoods and resources. They also face greater challenges accessing markets due to security concerns and societal norms and are often the last to eat within their families. Food insecurity further increases the threat of gender-based violence, making it even harder for women to feed themselves and their families.

Farmers like Hawa, a mother of five from East Darfur, are now too afraid to reach their fields due to security concerns.

“We fear being robbed, sexually harassed, or even worse,” Hawa said. “The conflict is affecting our lives as now we have nothing at all. People don’t have money to buy what they need, which is really affecting us.”

Beyond the immediate threat of violence, the conflict in Sudan has caused a ripple effect that threatens to push millions into famine. Disrupted markets and transportation networks have become a stranglehold on essential supplies, creating a vicious cycle that undermines food production and deepens the hunger crisis. Prices of what little can be found on market shelves have soared by 83%.

“While humanitarian organizations are working tirelessly to deliver aid, their efforts are hampered by a lack of access to conflict zones and dwindling funding. We need a cessation of hostilities to enable humanitarian workers to reach the most vulnerable and affected communities. At the same time, we call on governments to meet their pledges made to the Humanitarian Response Fund which, at 5%, remains grossly underfunded. Without decisive action, millions of Sudanese people face the prospect of starvation,” said Marie David.

For media inquiries, please contact: David Mutua, CARE East Central, & Southern Africa Regional Communications Advisor: david.mutua@care.org


Note to Editors

CARE has been operating in Sudan since 1979, implementing humanitarian and development programs focused on women’s and girls’ empowerment, gender justice, humanitarian action, and resiliency. After a brief period of suspension at the onset of the conflict, CARE has resumed most of its programs.

CARE supports over 83 health facilities in six states in Sudan, providing life-saving health and nutrition services.

The resumption of nutrition and Health Services in Nyala was made possible thanks to generous funding from USAID – Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance and European Union Humanitarian Aid.

CARE’s lifesaving operations are ongoing in:

East Darfur – water provision to refugees and host community and Health services

Gedaref – WASH provision for refugees, IDPs, and host community and Health services

Al Gezira – WASH provision to IDPs and host community

Kassala, Khartoum and South Kordofan – Health services

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