SUDAN: Humanitarian Key Messages (April 2022)
More than 18 million people are likely to face acute food insecurity by September 2022 because of the combined effects of conflict, economic crisis, and poor harvests according to WFP and FAO. That is double the number of people who were food insecure in 2021 as a result of inter-communal clashes, the below-average harvest of the main agricultural season, significantly above-average cereal and non-cereal food prices and continued macroeconomic difficulties. Children and women constitute three-quarters of the affected people and are further exposed to additional protection risks including increased risks of violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
Humanitarian partners will use a multisectoral approach to respond to this crisis to ensure that people receive the assistance they need and that the new caseload is incorporated in this year’s programming. The most urgent priority is to address the most crucial lifesaving needs while saving the next agricultural seasons - including agricultural inputs and veterinary services. Funds are needed by May 2022 for this to happen. To support the most vulnerable people, food assistance, access to water for domestic use and livestock, nutrition services for under-five children, pregnant and lactating women, and protection services will be needed. Crop protection committees need to be functional to ensure that farmers can access their land and their crops are protected throughout the growing season.
The failing economy, prolonged dry spells, reduced area cultivated and erratic rainfall in 2021 worsen existing humanitarian needs. The food security situation in affected localities could deteriorate further. More than 2.8 million under-five and pregnant and lactating women are exposed to additional nutritional and health risks. Access to livestock products such as milk is reduced by 50 per cent. Access to livestock food is also significantly impacted, leading to increased acute malnutrition and associated morbidity and mortality. Neglect and abandonment of younger children is likely to increase. Humanitarian organisations have noticed an increased number of children begging in urban centres.
Crop and livestock production has reduced by up to 50 per cent in 14 states across Sudan. Diseases, pest infestation, high prices of agricultural inputs, grasshoppers, desert locusts, birds, disease infestation, and insecurity, especially in the Darfurs and Kordofan, also impacted crop production. The Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) report by FAO and WFP estimates that the domestic cereal production from the 2021/22 agricultural season is expected to produce 5.1 million metric tons. This is 35 per cent below the previous year and 30 per cent below the last five-year average. The production will cover the needs of less than two-thirds of the population, leaving many reliant on humanitarian food assistance.
The situation is further aggravated by the conflict in Ukraine which is causing further spikes in food costs. Sudan is dependent on wheat imports from the Black Sea region. Interruption to the flow of grain into Sudan will increase prices and make it more difficult to import wheat. Currently, local prices of wheat are at over US$ 550 per ton – an increase of 180 per cent compared to the same period in 2021.
People in dry spell-affected areas need lifesaving protection assistance. According to the 2022 Sudan HRP, over 2.8 million children need child protection assistance, and 2.5 million people face protection risks in the affected localities. An additional 2.5 million people will be exposed to gender-based violence. Extended dry spells will force the families to adopt negative survival strategies such as child labour and child migration which will result in the increased psychosocial distress of children and caregivers, increased family separation, forced/early marriages and increased risks of sexual violence. Men and boys are at higher risk of being killed or forcibly recruited leaving behind a high number of female-headed households.
The prolonged dry spell and subsequent crop failure increase the risk of conflict due to the early migration of pastoral communities. About half of dry spell-affected localities are already affected by multiple crises, and the prolonged dry spells will further exacerbate the risk of conflict and violence. Dry spells impacted fodder and water availability for livestock, forcing pastoral communities to migrate earlier than usual. The early migration of pastoral communities in some parts of Darfur placed additional pressure on limited water and fodder availability in some areas that contributed to intercommunal violence. Crop protection committees need to be functional. During migration, women and children face greater risks as people often use dangerous routes to cover their basic needs. Greater potential risks concern the separation of children from their caregivers and child trafficking. Relevant precarious living conditions puts women and children in greater risk of violence including, rape, harassment, sexual exploitation and abuse, and child marriage.
Conflict, the economic crisis, food insecurity, flooding, and disease outbreaks continue to be the main drivers of humanitarian needs in Sudan. 14.3 million people need humanitarian assistance, according to the 2022 Sudan Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO). This includes 9.3 million vulnerable residents, 2.9 million IDPs, 1.16 million refugees, and 940,000 returnees. The majority of people in need are women and girls - 8.2 million or 57 per cent, while more than half of people in need are children (7.8 million or 55 per cent). Humanitarian partners plan to reach 9.1 million people with lifesaving and 10.7 million people with life-sustaining support in 68 localities. With 18 million people likely to face acute hunger by September, the originally estimated number of 14.3 million people in need is likely to also increase.
Humanitarian partners have appealed for more than US$1.9 billion to provide assistance and protection to 14.3 million people in Sudan in 2022. Out of this, $806 million is required for lifesaving activities. We urgently call on donors to fund this appeal.
[Updated in April 2022]