The long running conflict in Sudan between the Government and southern opposition groups has resulted in over 2 million deaths, and forced about 4 million people to leave their homes and seek refuge elsewhere in the country (Internally Displaced People, IDPs). Many other people have also been compelled to flee across the border into neighbouring countries (refugees). A chronic lack of basic services has made large numbers of Sudanese people dependent on emergency relief aid. Despite the positive development of the cease-fire signed in October 2002 and the on-going peace negotiations, the humanitarian situation in large parts of Sudan remains precarious in both quantitative and qualitative terms. This is primarily due to the protracted character of the conflict combined with the frequent or prolonged occurrence of natural disasters such as floods and drought. The humanitarian crisis in Sudan is rarely reported in the international press, making it a ‘forgotten crisis’.
In the Government-controlled regions of Sudan, the most precarious humanitarian conditions generally occur in areas where active conflict is still common and humanitarian access is problematic (due to government restrictions on travel permits, transport difficulties, landmines). Recurrent displacement in these areas means that affected populations gradually become dependent on external assistance.