Roundup: Humanitarian aid operations obstructed in Sudan as clashes worsen food, health crisis

(Xinhua) 09:24, March 30, 2024

KHARTOUM, March 29 (Xinhua) -- Humanitarian aid operations in Sudan have faced obstructions as the ongoing deadly clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) continue to exacerbate the already severe food and health crisis shrouding the war-torn land.

The warring parties are exchanging accusations for impeding humanitarian relief operations. On Friday, Sudan's Foreign Ministry accused the RSF of blocking several United Nations Children's Fund trucks carrying humanitarian aid en route to El Fasher, the capital city of North Darfur State.

In a statement, the ministry said that the RSF intercepted the trucks that were sent to address the food and health crisis in displacement camps, with a specific focus on combating malnutrition among the children.

According to the ministry, the RSF deployed forces near the city of Mellit to obstruct and seize humanitarian convoys along the Al-Dabba-Mellit-El Fasher route.

The RSF, for its part, alleged that the SAF and allied forces were attempting to misuse humanitarian aid for the transportation of weapons and military equipment.

"We have reservations about bringing aid into Darfur through the Al-Dabba city in northern Sudan," Imran Abdullah, a member of the advisory office of the RSF commander, said in a statement.

"The SAF and the Sudan Liberation Movement, led by the governor of Darfur Region ... sought to smuggle weapons through this route," he said.

While the SAF and the RSF were trading barbs, the displaced people in the camps in the Darfur region are facing the risk of famine due to the halt of food rations distributed by international organizations.

"Malnutrition rates are rising in the camps, threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands. Food rations provided by the World Food Programme (WFP) have stopped," Adam Rijal, spokesperson of the General Coordination for Displaced Persons and Refugees in Darfur, a voluntary body, said in a statement on Friday.

According to a recent WFP report, the vast majority of Sudanese face severe hunger due to the continued war, and that "less than five percent of Sudanese can afford a square meal a day."

The United Nations estimates that half of Sudan's population, approximately 25 million people, require humanitarian aid and protection, with nearly 18 million at risk of severe food scarcity.

Since April 15, 2023, Sudan has experienced violent confrontations between the SAF and the RSF, resulting in the displacement of about 8.1 million people, with about 6.3 million displaced internally, according to the Sudan situation report updated by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs last month.

The report noted that about 13,900 people have been killed since the fighting broke out, citing data recorded by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project.

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Hongyu)


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