One in four people face acute food insecurity in Sudan as food crisis deepens
Nearly 12 million people are expected to face acute food insecurity in Sudan – a country where 40% of the population are children under 15 – between June and September 2022, said Save the Children today.
The latest UN figures show an increase of two million people since previous figures were released when 9.6 million people were acutely food insecure, and highlight the severity of the hunger crisis that is extending across the Horn of Africa.
Nearly one-quarter of the entire population of Sudan will struggle to access food in coming months, including 3.1 million people facing emergency levels of hunger (IPC 4). Displaced children and their families, refugees, and people directly impacted by conflict are likely to be most vulnerable to hunger. Approximately half a million children already suffer from severe acute malnutrition in Sudan annually.
The ongoing crisis has been exacerbated by a worsening economic situation, recurring violence throughout many states, a poor harvest, and the global price shocks in grains and other food commodities. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that in 2022, Sudan’s production of sorghum and millet, two staple commodities, will decrease by 37 percent from 2021. The situation is worsened by the war in Ukraine, as Sudan imports some 87% of its wheat from the two countries.
Sudan is also one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate variability and change, with increasing droughts and unpredictable flooding over the past few decades putting severe stress on the country’s agriculture systems. Conflicts throughout several states within Sudan also continue to impact the capacity of farmers and business owners to produce and stock food, as children and families feel the brunt of intercommunal violence.
This hunger crisis is already severely impacting children, with some families resorting to dangerous coping mechanisms like early forced marriages, to deal with the economic pressure.
Arshad Malik, Save the Children’s Country Director in Sudan, said “The hunger crisis is hitting Sudan hard and the Sudanese people have suffered long enough. The war in Ukraine is pushing up wheat prices, making a stable part of the national diet unaffordable to many people. Recurring intercommunal conflicts in places such as West Darfur have made this situation worse, as children and families are forced to flee their homes and farms.
“The international community must immediately increase the resources dedicated to the humanitarian response and social protection programming, along with the longer-term development assistance needed to prevent such crises from recurring,” he said.
Save the Children in Sudan is currently operating food security programs in five of the most affected states, including the distribution of seeds and agricultural inputs, goats for milk, and cash distribution. The organisation has also supported more than one million Sudanese people in the last year with health and nutrition services, ensuring that children under five affected by malnutrition receive the help that they need.