Fears $1.5 billion Sudan aid ‘may not reach those in need’

A volunteer assists at a humanitarian food distribution point at the El Sheima Boarding School in El Gezira (Photo WFP/Lumia Elhag)


Concerns are mounting regarding fulfilment of $1.5 billion in donor pledges made toward humanitarian relief for Sudan at this week’s Geneva conference. There are fears that the aid may not reach those in need under the current authority. Discussions are underway for a new truce mediated by Saudi Arabia and the United States, focusing on a permanent ceasefire, humanitarian access, and political progress.

Concerns were raised by journalists and displaced people regarding the fulfilment of donor pledges made at the recent Geneva conference, amounting to $1.5 billion.

Fayez El Seleik, a former press advisor to former Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, emphasised the importance of establishing safe corridors and pathways to ensure the delivery of aid to eligible recipients.

He called for aid to be directed towards supporting the current agricultural season in conflict-free areas such as El Gezira, Sennar, and El Gedaref. “This could be achieved by providing seed, fertiliser, and fuel through collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP)”. El Seleik also urged the purchase of crops from local farmers using the local currency and their distribution to beneficiaries in various states, emphasising the dire consequences of a failed growing season.

To address the urgent need for shelter, El Seleik proposed the construction of shelters in peaceful areas like El Gezira, accompanied by the provision of basic services such as water and electricity. He also suggested exploring the possibility of establishing a shelter centre on the Egypt-Sudan border.

Humanitarian corridor

In response to the crisis, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Egypt, in collaboration with the Egyptian government, established a ‘humanitarian corridor’ between Aswan in Egypt and Wadi Halfa in Sudan.

On June 16, the first cross-border movement occurred, transporting 50 tonnes of basic food aid from Egypt to Sudan. To date, WFP, in collaboration with the Egyptian government and the Egyptian Red Crescent, has delivered over 800 tonnes of subsidised emergency food assistance to the Egyptian border, including improved ready-to-eat food.

The WFP has also initiated the Emergency Cash Assistance Programme, reaching over 130,000 Sudanese people since the start of the crisis. These initiatives facilitate rapid responses to the pressing humanitarian needs arising from the conflict. However, the program urgently requires $409 million to support almost six million conflict-affected people across Sudan over the next six months, according to the organisation.

Ceasefire talks

Discussions between Sudanese army and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) delegations in the Saudi capital, Jeddah, mediated by Saudi Arabia and the United States, have resumed to negotiate a new ceasefire in time for the Eid El Adha, the Muslim Feast of the Sacrifice that will begin on June 29.

The mediation proposal includes three crucial aspects: a permanent ceasefire, facilitation of humanitarian access, and progress in the political process.

The RSF has expressed its commitment and readiness to observe any truce that contributes to ending violence against the Sudanese people. RSF security advisor Ali El Tahir told Radio Dabanga that he agrees with the renewal of the ceasefire, with RSF Commander-in-Chief Mohamed ‘Hemedti’ Dagalo “expressing a clear positive stance toward any ceasefire process that benefits Sudan and its people”.