Sudan Humanitarian Update, March 2022
An estimated 6,900 people were displaced by inter-communal conflict in West, North and South Darfur states in March 2022.
In March, conflict in West Darfur’s Jebel Moon locality left 17 people dead, three villages burned, six villages partially burned, and up to 12,500 people displaced to neighbouring localities, into the Jebel Moon mountains and across the border into Chad.
A total of 8,127 people were displaced in Sudan due to conflict and natural disasters during March, according to IOM.
In 2021, humanitarian partners reached over 8.7 million people—out of the 8.9 million people targeted—across Sudan with some form of humanitarian assistance.
Kala-azar (visceral leishmaniasis) cases are on the rise in Gedaref State with 303 cases reported, including 91 cases among children under the age of five, and eight associated deaths since January.
The economic situation in Sudan continued to take a turn for the worse in March 2022. The political crisis severely impacted the Sudanese economy, resulting in interrupted access to markets and reduced income-earning opportunities, market activities and trade flows. This led to higher prices and supply shortages of basic goods, including medicine, wheat, fuel and agricultural inputs. It further resulted in reduced purchasing power and increased food insecurity, deepening vulnerability in the population – many of whom remain in need of basic services and assistance, according to the most recent report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Sudan.
On 9 March, the authorities increased the prices of fuel, and the petrol price increased from 408 Sudanese pounds (SDG) to 547 SDG (34 per cent increase) per litre. The price of diesel also increased from 390 SDG to 505 SDG (30 per cent increase) per litre. On 20 March, petrol prices increased to 672 SDG ($1.08 at the exchange rate of 620 SDG to the dollar) per litre from 542 SDG ($1.03 at the exchange rate of 526 SDG to the dollar at that time), while the price of diesel increased to 642 SDG per litre from 505 SDG. The increase will likely lead to a further increase in living and transportation costs, compounding an already dire food security situation across the country.
The Sudanese pound reached its lowest level of 600 pounds against the US dollar. The suspension of over US$2.7 billion in economic support from the international community, low foreign exchange reserves, limited economic activity, and continued political instability resulted in the depreciation of the Sudanese pound, with its rate against the US dollar at commercial banks increasing from about 442 SDG at the beginning of 2022 to over 565 SDG by 31 March 2022, according to the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS).
On 8 March, CBoS announced the liberalization of the exchange rate of the Sudanese pound letting banks and exchange companies determine the price of the local currency. This decision came after months of divergence between the official exchange rate and the black-market rate. The consequent increase in food prices will continue to limit household purchasing power, which in turn is expected to increase people’s vulnerability. The increases in food and transportation prices (50-100 per cent greater than last year), and the cost of the local food basket (over 120 per cent greater than last year), are negatively impacting the purchasing power of poor households, FEWS NET reported. While the inflation rate has shown a downward turn since reaching a peak of 423 per cent in July 2021, it remains high at 258 per cent in February 2022.
Commercial banks began responding to the decision by raising the US dollar exchange rate to between 530 SDG and 570 SDG. Reports indicate that the value of the local currency has depreciated twenty times during the last five years by 2,000 per cent. Humanitarian partners that planned their budgets/activities in local currency are facing challenges related to funding gaps as a result of the exchange rate exposure. According to some humanitarian partners, the estimated loss over the past month due to exchange rate fluctuations was about US$5 million and some interventions have been halted as a result.
In 2021, humanitarian partners reached over 8.7 million people—out of the 8.9 million people targeted—across Sudan with some form of humanitarian assistance. About 5.3 million people received food assistance and 2.8 million people were reached with livelihoods support. About 5.4 million people received basic health services, while more than 1.3 million people were provided with access to safe water. Over 490,000 people were provided with sanitation facilities and 2.5 million people were reached with hygiene activities. About 280,000 children were treated for severe acute malnutrition.
In 2022, the humanitarian situation in Sudan has continued to deteriorate, driven by protracted displacement, economic crisis, increased inter-communal conflict, dry spells and food insecurity. Humanitarian partners aim to provide humanitarian assistance and support 10.9 million of the most vulnerable people in Sudan at a cost of US$1.9 billion through the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). As of 31 March, donors have generously donated $166.1 million (8.6 per cent) of the requirement. Humanitarian organizations continue to advocate for timely and flexible funding as the severity of the needs of vulnerable people is increasing.
An estimated 6,900 people were forced to flee their homes due to conflict
In March 2022, tensions and conflict between communities were reported in West Darfur, North Darfur, and South Darfur states forcing 6,900 people to flee their homes.
In West Darfur’s Jebel Moon locality, 17 people were killed, three villages were burned, six villages were partially burned, and up to 12,500 people were displaced to neighbouring localities, into the Jebel Moon mountains and across the border into Chad. These clashes were a continuation of a conflict that erupted in the area in mid-November 2021 over a land dispute and claimed dozens of lives, loss of property and caused displacement. Community leaders in Sirba and Kulbus localities report that the conflicts in Jebel Moon and Kereneik localities are also affecting people in their localities, as armed nomads allegedly kill and loot as they pass through on their way to or back from Jebel Moon.
In North Darfur, about 3,500 people fled their homes in As Serief and Kutum localities in March due to inter-communal conflict, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In As Serief locality, initial reports indicate that four people were killed, another nine were injured, 900 people were displaced, and nine houses were torched. In addition, crops in farms around Gusa Janoub were destroyed, putting people at risk of food insecurity.
In South Darfur, conflict erupted between two nomadic tribes in Gereida and Tulus localities on 29 March. It is estimated that over 100 people have been killed, of whom six are reportedly children. The clashes are reported to stem from an incident on 26 March when a nomadic tribesman was killed by unknown perpetrators while traveling from Gereida town to Buram village. The nomadic tribe blamed the other nomadic tribe of the killing, and mobilized forces to attack the tribe’s villages on 29 March.
On 30 March, the villages of Sanam El Naga, Abu Jabra and Hadoub in Gereida locality were burned, according to the IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM). The Government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) reported that the inhabitants of Hadoub village, about 500 people (100 families) took their livestock and sought protection near a Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) military base in the Dika area on the outskirts of Gereida town. Most of them are women and children, are living out in the open and need shelter, food, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) assistance, HAC said. HAC also reported that on 31 March Dika and Dagama villages were attacked; Dika was burned, according to IOM DTM and its inhabitants also took refuge close to the military base near Gereida town. HAC and a humanitarian organisation have so far registered about 1,760 people (352 families) displaced in the Dika area. To control the situation, the local authorities deployed joint security forces to the conflict areas to create a buffer between the two tribes. Humanitarian partners estimate that about 15,000 people (3,000 families) will likely be affected by the conflict, with displacement to Tulus and Shergeila localities, and camps in Nyala anticipated.
An inter-agency assessment to Gereida was carried out on 6 April. Preliminary humanitarian supplies such as non-food items (NFIs), food and dignity kits were distributed to the affected people in the Dika area. Emergency health services are being provided to the people displaced in the Dika area and one medical kit was given to the Nyala teaching hospital to treat injured cases referred from Gereida. Dignity kits and information on gender-based violence (GBV) will be given to the affected people, and any GBV cases will be investigated.
Overall, across Sudan, a total of 8,127 people were displaced during the month of March, according to IOM. This includes 6,932 people displaced by conflict and 1,195 people displaced due to fire incidents.
Exploitative protections situations have developed in parts of West Darfur
According to humanitarian partners, exploitative protection situations have emerged in Sirba, Jebel Moon and Kereneik localities in West Darfur State. In some cases, nomads provide farmers with protection for a fee or compensation. In Sirba locality, six villages pay nomads for protection, which includes sharing half of their food stocks. In Jebel Moon locality, residents of three villages pay nomads 500,000 SDG (US$1,125) per village for protection. At the same time, residents in a village in Kereneik locality report that nomads protect them at no cost. Villagers told humanitarians that any assistance provided must include nomads as it would undermine existing peaceful co-existence and protection arrangements with the nomads and risk conflict and looting.
Kala-azar on the rise in Gedaref State
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 303 Kala-azar (visceral leishmaniasis) cases—including 91 cases among children under the age of five, and eight associated deaths—have been reported in Gedaref state since January, putting the case fatality rate (CFR) at 2.7 per cent. Kala-azar is endemic in Gedaref and over the past couple of years the number of cases in the state has been increasing. About 2,100 cases were reported in 2019; 2,136 cases in 2020; and 2,973 cases in 2021. Key challenges to eradicate Kala-azar include lack of medical staff, adequate training for the staff, continuous stock out or shortfalls in medicines; lack of vector control activities; lack of funding for health promotion and community awareness activities; lack of health partners willing to support the Kala-azar projects; and lack of government support and commitment to eradicate the disease.
Kala-azar has irregular bouts of fever, weight loss, enlargement of the spleen and liver, and anaemia. Kala-azar parasites are transmitted through the bites of infected female sandflies, which feed on blood to produce eggs and if left untreated could lead to death in 95 per cent of cases. Poverty increases the risk for Kala-azar where poor housing and unsanitary conditions (such as a lack of waste management or open sewage) may increase sandfly breeding and resting sites. Human behaviour, such as sleeping outside or on the ground, may increase the risk of getting Kala-azar. Prevention and control of Kala-azar requires a combination of intervention strategies, including early diagnosis and effective prompt treatment; vector; and effective disease surveillance; control of animal reservoir hosts is complex and should be tailored to the local situation.
The number of COVID-19 reported suspected cases during week 16 of 2022 indicated a 42.4 per cent decrease compared to the same duration of week 15 of 2022, with the reported cases seeing a decline, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). During the week of 16, Khartoum State reported 55.2 per cent of COVID-19 suspected cases and 28.5 per cent of the confirmed cases followed by River Nile State recording 31 per cent of the week’s suspected cases and 71.4 per cent of the confirmed cases. Since the start of the pandemic, 61,955 people tested positive for COVID-19, including 4,907 deaths, as of 31 March 2022. About 7 per cent of Sudan’s 47.9 million people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. UN agencies and partners are supporting the Federal Ministry of Health with vaccines and logistics for vaccination.
For further information, please contact: Sofie Karlsson, Head of Communications and Analysis, OCHA Sudan, email@example.com, Tel: +249 (0) 912 17 44 56 For more information, please visit www.unocha.org or Reliefweb