OVERVIEW OF THE CRISIS
Sudan remains a large protracted humanitarian crisis and the severity and scale of needs remain far reaching. Although there has been an improvement of the security situation – as a result of unilateral cessations of hostilities both protracted and new displacement continues. About 1.86 million live in protracted displacement. About 27,000 people were newly displaced in areas experiencing localised armed conflict such as Jebel Marra, Blue Nile and South Kordofan – 19,000 people were mostly displaced in 2018 in Jebel Marra alone. Localized violence continues to take place due to fighting between sedentary farmers and nomadic-pastoral communities, and between nomadic communities. Protection risks and threats continue; IDPs, particularly women and girls, still face high protection risks and continue to be harassed, and occasionally killed or raped. Between December 2017 and January 2019, UNAMID documented 192 victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
The food security and nutrition situation remains fragile and many affected populations remain dependent on assistance to meet their basic food needs. According to the Government’s Food Security Technical Secretariat, 5.7 million people were estimated to be in Crisis - Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Phase 3 - or Emergency (IPC Phase 4) levels of food insecurity - ten out of 18 states have people in IPC phase 4. People in emergency and crisis levels are only able to meet minimum food needs with irreversible coping strategies that involve liquidating livelihood assets or diverting expenses from essential non-food items. Some are facing extreme food consumption gaps that could result in high levels of acute malnutrition, already above the emergency threshold especially for children under the age of 5. About 2.4 million children under age five suffer from wasting annually, out of whom close to 700,000 suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM). High malnutrition levels are not only limited to the conflict-affected areas; 52 per cent of acutely malnourished children live in nine states not affected by conflict including Al Gezira, Red Sea and Kassala. Further, communicable diseases remain a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Sudan and the country is prone to measles, meningitis, acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) and most recently chikungunya and dengue. The situation is aggravated by weak health infrastructures, poor infant and young child feeding practices, limited access to safe water and sanitation services, and poor hygiene conditions.
The country is also currently facing severe macro-economic challenges which are further exacerbating the situation.
Austerity measures instituted in 2018 have resulted in spiralling inflation - reaching 73 per cent in December 2018 - and consequently a spike in prices of basic commodities and medicines. Fuel and cash shortages continue across parts of the country. As a result, household purchasing power has been eroded as people are unable to meet their basic food needs and adopting negative coping strategies, such as selling productive assets or limiting amount of food consumed. According to FEWSNET, the November to February harvest is not likely to lead to an improvement as people still rely on market purchases even during the harvest period. Preparations for the November to March winter season, which is the key season for wheat production in Sudan, started earlier than normal. Farmers are raising concerns that the high costs of seeds, fertilizers, fuel, and the cash shortage will likely have an impact on normal planting. Beyond household food security, the economic crisis is also impacting other sectors, including health and nutrition, as people reduce expenditure in order to meet their basic food needs or compromise the quality of food. To supplement household income, parents may send their children to work, exposing children to risks such as child labour, unsafe migration, trafficking, recruitment and sexual exploitation. Overall, the situation remains fluid and humanitarian needs could further increase as underlying challenges are not expected to change in the immediate future.