Sudan : “If nothing is done, we’re heading straight for famine”

Published on Wednesday 14 February 2024

[Paris, February 14, 2024] While the food situation is already alarming throughout Sudan, all indicators point to a potential famine in the coming months, particularly in the Darfur states in the west of the country. The 10-month conflict ravaging the country is having dramatic and fatal consequences for the entire population. The NGO SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL, a daily witness on the ground, is sounding the alarm. 

“If you were told that the entire population of the Netherlands was at a high level of acute food insecurity, the world would be shocked and help would pour in. But no one is talking about it… However, if nothing is done in Sudan, we’re heading straight for a famine situation, particularly in the Darfur states!” insists Justine Muzik Piquemal, Regional Director for the NGO SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL.

Today, 17.7 million people – more than the current population of the Netherlands – are affected by high levels of acute food insecurity.1 “In concrete terms, this means that if humanitarian aid, including food aid, does not increase, the next step is a massive food crisis and potentially starvation for many,” explains Justine Muzik Piquemal.

The intensity of the fighting, the insecurity and the organized violence, combined with the economic collapse that has shaken the country since the start of the conflict on April 15, 2023, are leading to a catastrophic situation that could become dramatic. “Given the collapse of state services and the difficulties of access to many areas, reliable data is extremely difficult to collect. The situation is likely to be worse than we imagine,” laments Justine Muzik Piquemal.

The destruction of agricultural infrastructure, the rising food prices and the impossibility of cultivating land due to the fighting mean that the lean season2 from June to September will be extremely difficult for the population. Moreover, the rainy season, which coincides with the lean season, will make many roads impassable due to flooding, limiting the delivery of aid.

To avert a catastrophic food and nutrition crisis by mid-2024, it is now necessary to :

– Increase emergency food aid.

– Preposition massive food reserves in anticipation of the rainy season.

– Implement support for the agricultural sector (producers, transporters, traders, etc.) in areas where security permits.

– Deploy primary health services and treatment for acute malnutrition

– Intensify humanitarian interventions in the fields of water, hygiene and sanitation to cope with the lean season, which is also the period of peak water-borne diseases.

At present, it is difficult but possible to deliver humanitarian aid to Sudan, including Darfur. It is possible to distribute it and reach the victims of the conflict. “We are redoubling our efforts to ensure that civilians have access to essential services and a minimum of dignity, but there are still too few players on the ground. Last year, only 40% of the necessary humanitarian funding was provided. There is an urgent need to mobilize, to talk about Sudan, to increase aid and to work together to facilitate unhindered access for humanitarian organizations and supplies”, says Justine Muzik Piquemal.


(1) https://www.ipcinfo.org/fileadmin/user_upload/ipcinfo/docs/IPC_Sudan_Acute_Food_Insecurity_Oct2023_Feb2024_Report.pdf 

(2) Editor’s note: the period before the first harvests, when there is a shortage of produce from previous harvests.


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