Gedaref State is in the eastern part of Sudan sharing an international border with Ethiopia to the east; with Kassala and Khartoum states to the north; with Aj Jazirah to the west; and with Sennar to the south. There are two international border crossings in Gedaref State, the Hamdayet border crossing in the north and the Gallabat border crossing in the south. Gedaref is home to many tribes including Arabs, Beja, Nubian, and other groups. The state is characterized by vast agricultural land and large scale rainfed agriculture activities. Sesame and sorghum are the main agricultural products. Rainfed agriculture and Arabic Gum production are the main sources of income and livelihoods for people in the state.
Localized conflict, border tensions, floods and refugee influxes are the main drivers of humanitarian needs in Gedaref State. An estimated 645,000 people (refugees and vulnerable residents) in the state need humanitarian assistance, according to the 2022 Sudan Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO). Tensions along the Ethiopia-Sudan border escalated in late 2020 when the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) retook control of the Al Fashaga area after 25 years of absence. For decades, Ethiopia had allowed its farmers to plant crops in this fertile area. Tensions and fighting between SAF, the Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF) and the Amhara Militia in Al Fashaga continued into 2021. The military build-up of both SAF and ENDF in the border area led to the closure of the Gallabat border crossing during the first six months of 2021.