UN OCHA: conflict, natural disasters, disease outbreaks, and economic crisis most important risks to Sudan

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) presented its humanitarian needs overview for Sudan, including its Humanitarian Programme for 2023. The 100-pages-long report identified conflict, disasters associated with natural hazards, disease outbreaks, and economic deterioration as the most significant risks in Sudan.

UN OCHA Sudan Humanitarian Needs Overview 2023 report

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) presented its humanitarian needs overview for Sudan, including its Humanitarian Programme for 2023. The 100-pages-long report identified conflict, disasters associated with natural hazards, disease outbreaks, and economic deterioration as the most significant risks in Sudan.

The document "provides a shared understanding of the crisis, including the most pressing humanitarian need and the estimated number of people who need assistance" and was consolidated by OCHA on behalf of the Humanitarian Country Team and partners.

OCHA warned that the humanitarian needs across Sudan are at record levels one year after a military coup, "with unclear prospects of how the transition to a new Sudan that started three years ago will evolve".

Parts of the report summary, as written in the document, can be found below.

Context and shocks/events

"Protracted and new displacement induced by intercommunal localised conflict often driven by political agendas, increasing protection of civilians risks and threats due to the rise in criminality and insecurity in parts of Darfur and other conflict-affected areas, unprecedented spikes in acute food insecurity due to dry spells and erratic rains, high inflation for food, fuel and other commodities, floods and persistent disease outbreaks have resulted in these record numbers of people in need of humanitarian assistance for the third year in a row.

"For 2023, the four most significant risks identified are conflict, disasters associated with natural hazards, disease outbreaks, and economic deterioration.

"The number of food-insecure people increased by about 2 million compared to last year. Humanitarian partners estimate that about 15.8 million people – about a third of the population – will need humanitarian assistance in 2023. This 1.5 million increase compared to 2022 is the highest since 2011.

'Humanitarian partners estimate that about 15.8 million people – about a third of the population – will need humanitarian assistance in 2023'

"Of the 15.8 million people in need, about 11 million need emergency assistance for life-threatening needs related to critical physical and mental well-being. This is a 21 per cent increase compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, all people require life-sustaining support to meet minimum living standards.

"The Food Security and Livelihoods Cluster has the highest number of people in need – 11.7 million, followed by Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Cluster -11 million, and the Health Cluster –10.1 million people in need.

"There are 3.7 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in Sudan after the International Organization for Migration (IOM) did the latest round of verification of mobility tracking across 801 locations in Sudan. Humanitarian partners estimate that with various challenges and factors that underpin conflict and displacement not resolved, there can be more civilian displacement in 2023 and the number of people who need assistance is likely to increase further.

"Of the people in need, 50 per cent are concentrated in areas affected by conflict. The 50 per cent are in areas not affected by conflict, in northern, central and eastern parts of the country. In 2018, 74 per cent of people in need were in conflict areas – Darfur, Kordofan and the Blue Nile.

"Of the 926,000 refugees in Sudan, the majority (67 per cent) are from South Sudan. Khartoum and White Nile states host about 60 per cent of all South Sudanese refugees in the country, with Khartoum having the highest number amongst all states. At the same time Khartoum has one of the highest food-insecure urban populations in the country, with refugees and the urban poor affected the most."

'Khartoum has one of the highest food-insecure urban populations in the country, with refugees and the urban poor affected the most'

Impact of the crisis

"The economic crisis and scarcity of resources have continued to affect public service delivery and heightened socio-economic vulnerability. The rule of law, access to justice, and government social protection networks were already weak across the country before 25 October 2021 military coup, after which the situation became more complex.

"The increase in criminality, armed attacks, and security risks to civilians in conflict-affected areas has been a significant concern. The number of acutely food insecure people continued to increase for the third year, reaching a record 11.7 million people. Access to basic services, including health, water, sanitation, and education, which already had a low coverage baseline, has been affected by diminishing government investment in those areas.

'Climate shocks, including dry spells/ drought, crop failure, and floods, add layers of vulnerability among the Sudanese'

"Sudan cannot maintain an adequate supply of medicines and medical supplies because of the economic crisis and a lack of hard currency. Climate shocks, including dry spells/ drought, crop failure, and floods, add layers of vulnerability among the Sudanese. The political uncertainty and the unstable security environment (particularly in the Darfur region) are shaping the operating environment and humanitarian operations in Sudan. These factors, alone and in combination, create a variety of access challenges for humanitarian organisations."