As Sudan's conflict deepens, famine emerges as a sinister result of the civil war. This article delves into the complex relationship between famine and warfare, with a spotlight on FAO's ambitious intervention.
Background on the civil war in Sudan
In April 2023, Sudan witnessed the outbreak of hostilities between rival armed factions in its capital Khartoum, sparking concerns about a potential return to full-scale civil war. The conflict primarily revolves around a power struggle between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Both factions are battling for control of the state and its resources, raising the possibility of a protracted civil war.
With the conflict now persisting for nearly a year since its commencement, the escalating hostilities have exacerbated humanitarian conditions and complicated the once-expected democratic shift.
How Sudan's Civil War Sparks Famine
Sudan's civil war has become a devastating precursor to widespread famine, as security threats and roadblocks impede humanitarian efforts, making aid delivery nearly impossible.
The World Food Programme (WFP) reports that nearly five million people in Sudan are now grappling with emergency-level hunger—a figure that has doubled since the conflict's onset. According to the BBC, WFP has only managed to reach 10% of those urgently requiring aid, particularly in conflict-ridden areas like Khartoum and the western Darfur region.
Adding to the complexity, aid groups operating in Sudan face significant challenges. According to the news organization Reuters, aid agencies have reported that their supply trucks have been looted, and their workers have been subjected to attacks. Compounding these issues, the government imposes barriers, making it arduous to obtain permits for humanitarian workers to access specific regions.
By the close of 2023, an alarming 18 million people were in urgent need of food assistance.
As reported by the FAO, the ongoing conflict has forced more than 960,000 to seek refuge in neighboring countries, further exacerbating the food crisis. The latest Integrated Food Security Phase projections states that over 42% of the population have been grappling with high levels of acute food insecurity between July and September 2023—almost double the figure from May 2022.
FAO's Comprehensive Response: A $123 Million Plan to Alleviate Hunger and Rebuild Livelihoods
In a pivotal move to combat the growing food insecurity in Sudan, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has initiated the Emergency Livelihood Response Plan. This comprehensive plan aims to provide immediate relief by furnishing communities with emergency seeds, livestock treatment kits, and essential veterinary and fisheries support.
A key focus of the plan is to bolster cereal production, contributing to meeting the anticipated needs of at least 13 million and potentially up to 19 million people for the upcoming harvests. Additionally, vulnerable individuals who have lost productive assets will benefit from restocking initiatives for their animals.
Recognizing the significance of livestock in livelihoods, the FAO's plan outlines support for mass vaccination campaigns to protect six million livestock.
However, the ambitious plan requires substantial financial backing, with the FAO estimating a budget of $123 million for the next 12 months. This funding is crucial to implementing the multifaceted strategy and reaching targeted farmers, herders, and fishers in the most food-insecure states across Sudan.
As Sudan's civil war intensifies, a glimmer of hope emerges with the FAO's Emergency Livelihood Response Plan. Providing crucial aid, it aims to rebuild lives and alleviate hunger.
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