Nearly a quarter of Sudan’s population is starving because of conflict, rising food prices and the corona virus.
About 9.6 million people now faces severe food shortages, the highest amount recorded in the country’s recent history.
Many of those affected live in the conflict zones of South Kordofan and the Blue Nile State, but almost all of the 18 Sudanese countries have recorded levels of hunger, including the capital, Khartoum.
The Hunger Early Warning System Network says a large number of people will do it need emergency food assistance until at least September as “very high staple food prices and Covid-19 control measures significantly restrict food access during the lean season”.
UN agencies working in the country warn of severe consequences. “If no action is taken, people might slip into chronic food insecurity and poverty – and enduring high vulnerability to future hazards,” said Woo Jung Kim, communications officer at the World Food Program in Sudan.
“At present, there is widespread food insecurity due to conflict, and economic decline and inflation [are] reduce the purchasing power of the population. “
The UN has also warned that it cannot reach some of the most vulnerable because of Covid-19’s restrictions and instability. A source at the UN, who preferred to remain anonymous, said staff found it difficult to obtain a visa or permission from the government to travel within the country.
According to the World Health Organization, as of July 27, Sudan has recorded 11,424 cases and 720 deaths from Covid-19.
Buthaina el-Nour, 31, a tea seller from the village of Hajar el-Tair in South Kordofan, told the Guardian on the phone that he had to reduce his work hours due to the security situation in the area, which made him have to struggle to buy food.
“I couldn’t stay long in the market because gunmen roamed around who might rob and kill you. Most people I know can only eat once a day and no one gives help. We just say ‘thank God that we are still alive’, “He said.
Wisal Abu-Sham, who helps her husband farm in their village in the North Kordofan North Um-Jab village, said he struggled to get enough food to feed the 13 children who lived with the family due to soaring food prices and lack of rain.
“We sometimes eat twice, but very often only once a day,” he said. “We are preparing our land to grow sesame and sorghum, but it hasn’t rained yet and we have to eat some of our seeds that should be planted.”
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