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UN Pleas Fall on Deaf Ears as Sudan Teeters on the Brink of Catastrophe

By: ATN News

Geneva: In a futile diplomatic effort that underscores the deepening humanitarian catastrophe in Sudan, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, desperately reached out on Tuesday to Lt-General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. These calls to the commanders of the Sudanese Armed Forces and the rival Rapid Support Forces, respectively, were another plea for peace that is likely to fall on deaf ears.

According to OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani, Türk's appeals for de-escalation and adherence to international humanitarian law come amid intensifying violence. This is not the first time Türk has tried to broker peace between these factions; his warnings in November 2022 went unheeded. This latest outreach stressed that ongoing fighting in El Fasher, where over 1.8 million people face imminent famine, could have devastating consequences. Türk reminded the generals of their duty to protect civilians and uphold humanitarian principles—a call that seems increasingly futile as violence rages on.

Thirteen months of relentless conflict have plunged Sudan into a severe humanitarian crisis, leaving half the population—25 million people, including 14 million children—in desperate need of assistance. The continuous displacement of millions has only increased their vulnerability. Aid organizations warn that famine is on the horizon, exacerbated by the approaching rainy season, which threatens to worsen the dire conditions. Last week alone, intensified fighting in El Fasher resulted in at least 58 civilian deaths and 213 injuries, further illustrating the grim reality on the ground.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has issued dire warnings about the deteriorating situation. Diseases are spreading unchecked, and the threat of famine looms large. The humanitarian response plan aims to reach 15 million of the most affected people, but a staggering $2.7 billion is urgently needed. So far, only a paltry 12% of this amount has been secured, leaving aid agencies woefully under-resourced. Without immediate financial support, efforts to provide essential supplies such as food, health services, and shelter will falter, pushing the population closer to the brink of starvation and disease.

Meanwhile, the crisis is spilling over into neighboring countries, with Uganda bearing the brunt of the refugee influx. Over 33,000 Sudanese refugees have flooded into Uganda since January, with 19,000 arriving in the capital, Kampala. Uganda, already hosting 1.7 million refugees, the highest number in Africa, is now straining under this additional burden. On average, 2,500 people cross into Uganda weekly, mainly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan, compounding an already critical situation.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has highlighted a severe funding shortfall, exacerbating the challenges in Uganda. Humanitarians are seeking $858 million this year to support both refugees and local communities, yet only 13% of this funding has been received. This shortfall has led to drastic reductions in essential services. Healthcare facilities are understaffed and under-equipped, schools are overcrowded, and critical protection services are delayed. The lack of necessary materials for refugee registration prolongs the suffering of those seeking safety.

In a desperate bid for support, UNHCR and senior Ugandan officials recently engaged with international partners, including governments and EU institutions, to highlight the dire consequences of these funding gaps. Despite these efforts, the relentless influx of refugees and the ongoing conflict in Sudan suggest that the situation will only worsen. Without substantial and immediate international aid, millions of lives remain in jeopardy, and the humanitarian crisis in Sudan and its neighboring regions threatens to spiral further out of control.


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