During the first half of 2019, Sudan’s humanitarian needs have continued to grow. The ongoing economic crisis has been exacerbated by months of civil unrest and political uncertainty. Based on intersectoral vulnerability analysis, over 8 million people are estimated to need humanitarian or protection assistance. The Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) is less than 30 percent funded (FTS), and partners still require over US$ 800 million to cover needs of 4.4 million people targeted in the HRP. To ensure the most vulnerable people are assisted during the rest of the year, partners have prioritized the immediate most critical life-saving activities and are seeking $150 million through this Prioritization Plan.
The deepening economic crisis that started in 2018 is making more people vulnerable. About 5.8 million people were estimated to be in crisis (IPC 3) or emergency (IPC 4) levels of food insecurity based on March-May 2019 projection – up from 3.8 million at the start of 2018.
Despite a relatively good harvest, these high levels of food insecurity are driven by higher production costs and food prices that have more than doubled in the past year. Overall, prices are expected to remain between 30 - 40 percent above last year and over 300 percent above the five-year average. Many people whose levels of food assistance had been reduced due to improving livelihoods – including IDPs – are again in need of greater assistance. Some 90 per cent of IDP and refugee households cannot afford their daily food basket and overall 58 per cent of host population cannot afford the local food basket. Reports of IDPs being attacked and threatened as they prepare for the agricultural season in the west will likely further increase food insecurity. Rising food prices have also exacerbated already-high levels of malnutrition, with some 2.4 million acutely malnourished children across the country.
Health needs have also continued to grow as health services have been stretched to the breaking point. Imports of medicines and medical supplies dropped by about 35 per cent compared to the same period last year. This has contributed to cost increases of between 50 - 100 percent restricting access to essential life-saving health care services. According to WHO’s Health Resources and Services Availability Monitoring System (HeRAMS), about 24 per cent of 1,229 health facilities in Darfur were closed in 2018 due to lack of funds and staff; of the functional ones, almost half are only providing minimum health care services due to lack of medicines, equipment, staff and inadequate infrastructure. Health services have also been impacted by the social unrest, with health facilities and workers subjected to attacks and intimidation including seven in June alone. The rainy season now underway is predicted to be above normal and has already resulted in floods in several parts of the country. This is increasing the risk of disease outbreaks, including acute watery diarrhoea, particularly in areas where people have limited access to wash and sanitation facilities and with limited health infrastructure. Half of tested water sources across Sudan were contaminated, with 10 states at medium to high risk for water borne disease (out of 18 states).
Protection risks are multiplying. Darfur is of particular concern, as there has been an increase in intercommunal tensions and harassment of IDPs including women and girls. Armed tribes are increasing attacks on farmers, including IDPs and intimidating them from farming. Between the June and August planting season displaced women and girls are at increased risk of sexual violence as they move out of camps to access their farms, this will likely impact planting thus food security. Fighting between non-state armed groups is leading to further displacement including about 4,100 people this year. Social unrest also raised protection concerns in urban areas, including Khartoum. The raid on the sit-in protest on 3 June in Khartoum, where at least 61 people including 19 children, were killed followed months of violence in several parts of the country; children were reportedly detained, and reportedly recruited to join the fighting and sexually abused. Following the violent break-up of the sit-in in June, the UN and partners provided health support and gender-based violence (GBV) services.
Rising tensions with host communities has introduced new protection concerns for refugees; for example, in June, several host community attacks on South Sudanese refugees in Khartoum led to the new displacement of about 7,000 refugees who were forced to flee their homes, seeking safety in other parts of Khartoum and in refugee camps in White Nile. Host communities are also struggling under the current economic situation and are increasingly disrupting response activities and seeking compensation and assistance support.
The operating environment has grown more challenging. Looting and attacks on aid workers and facilities is rising; over 31 incidents have been recorded since January, disrupting operations. Heavy bureaucratic procedures have slowed further, with government interlocutors working at reduced capacity. This has created further delays in processing of visas, travel permits, and customs clearance of vital supplies. Fuel and cash shortages, as well as high local prices, continue to impact operations. Humanitarian partners are advocating with authorities to remove all bureaucratic impediments including the lifting of travel permits and notifications.
Despite these challenges, humanitarian partners continue to provide vital assistance including sustained advocacy to address the operational access challenges. By the end of March 2019, partners had reached 1.6 million people with life-saving assistance. Country wide vaccination campaigns covered 9.1 million children between March and June. Partners are already responding to floods in various states, but prepositioned stocks in high risk areas are fast depleting before the peak of the flood season in August. However, the increasing needs continue to outpace available funding. This plan presents a collective prioritization by humanitarian partners of the most critical activities from the HRP that require immediate support.