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Faith Nyasuguta

World donors have now pledged more than $2.1 billion in humanitarian aid for Sudan after a yearlong war that has pushed its population to the brink of famine, French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday.

Speaking at the conclusion of an international conference in Paris aimed at garnering support for Sudan’s 51 million people, Macron highlighted the urgent need for assistance in various sectors such as food, water, medicines, and other essentials. However, he did not specify a timeline for the disbursement of the aid.

The conference saw the participation of top diplomatic envoys, U.N. officials, and aid agencies, who urged Sudan’s warring factions to cease attacks on civilians and facilitate access for humanitarian aid. Furthermore, they called for immediate international mediation efforts to achieve lasting peace in the region.

Despite the absence of representatives from Sudan’s military and paramilitary forces, members of the country’s civil society were actively engaged in the discussions. Macron emphasised the significance of the collective effort, highlighting the importance of upholding international humanitarian rights and protecting civilian populations.

Sudan plunged into conflict in April last year when longstanding tensions between the military and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces erupted into violent clashes in Khartoum and other parts of the country. The ongoing conflict has exacted a heavy toll on the Sudanese population, with more than 14,000 fatalities and at least 33,000 individuals sustaining injuries.

According to the United Nations, nearly 9 million people have been displaced, either seeking refuge within Sudan or fleeing to neighboring countries. Widespread hunger, sexual violence against women and girls, and the destruction of critical infrastructure, including homes, hospitals, and schools, have compounded the humanitarian crisis in Sudan.

Macron speaks during the international conference in Paris /RFI/

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasized the urgency of supporting the Sudanese people and called for an end to hostilities. He urged the international community to prioritize assistance to Sudan and work towards silencing the guns in the region.

“We cannot let this nightmare slide from view,” Guterres said in a video message to the Paris conference.

“It’s time to support the Sudanese people. It’s time to silence the guns.”

French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne reiterated the conference’s objective of mobilizing humanitarian funding to aid the Sudanese population. He condemned the devastating impact of the war and highlighted the need to combat international indifference towards the crisis.

Echoing similar sentiments, European Union crisis management commissioner Janez Lenarcic emphasized the importance of not overlooking Sudan amid other global conflicts dominating the headlines. He emphasized the responsibility of the international community to address the dire humanitarian situation in Sudan.

Mirjana Spoljaric, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, raised concerns about the politicization of humanitarian action in Sudan and the risks faced by humanitarian workers. She emphasized the need to prioritize human lives over military objectives.

Despite initial efforts by the United States and Saudi Arabia to mediate a resolution to the conflict, ongoing conflicts elsewhere, such as the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, have diverted attention from Sudan. Relief workers warned of an impending humanitarian catastrophe in Sudan, with deteriorating food production and distribution networks exacerbating the crisis.

War-tone Sudan /RFI/

Reports of atrocities, including killings, displacement, and rape, have further compounded the humanitarian crisis in Sudan. At least 37% of the population is facing severe food insecurity, with children, pregnant women, and newborns particularly vulnerable to malnutrition-related deaths.

Abdallah al-Dardari, a regional director of the U.N. Development Program, emphasized the urgent need for action to prevent famine in Sudan. The military and paramilitary forces continue to engage in violent confrontations, further exacerbating the plight of the civilian population.

The international community’s commitment to providing humanitarian aid to Sudan is crucial in addressing the ongoing crisis and preventing further suffering. Efforts must be intensified to facilitate peace negotiations and ensure the protection of civilians in Sudan.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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