Sudan remains a humanitarian and development challenge. The problems are chronic and those addressing them are few, largely due to the expulsions of many Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in 2009. Malnutrition rates are beyond emergency levels in many regions and disease outbreaks are common. The number of refugees and internally displaced persons remain high, while access to food for the most vulnerable population is an ongoing concern.
Over 2.5 million people, of which some 1.9 million internally displaced (IDPs), are reliant on some form of humanitarian assistance in Darfur. The humanitarian needs remain huge and are a priority for the international humanitarian community, however the situation remains volatile and international humanitarian organisations still face harsh difficulties in accessing some areas and delivering aid. Incidents targeting humanitarian workers in Darfur occur frequently and have steadily contributed to a reduced humanitarian space.
In both Blue Nile and South Kordofan, fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces and the SPLM-North erupted in the course of 2011. A total of 690.000 people are estimated to be either internally displaced or severely affected by the conflict, but such figures cannot be verified in an independent manner since no neutral and impartial access has been allowed by authorities.
According to UNHCR, there are 240.000 Sudanese refugees from South Kordofan and Blue Nile States who have sought haven in South Sudan and in Ethiopia.
The return of people of South Sudanese origin to South Sudan has been steady since the beginning of the organised return in October 2010. More than 405.000 people have returned to South Sudan since then. Protection is a major concern for the South Sudanese citizens in Sudan, despite the issuance of South Sudanese documentation which started in Khartoum in early 2012. There are still many South Sudanese stranded in transit points, especially in the Greater Khartoum area. Up to 350.000 South Sudanese are still estimated to be living in Sudan.
Access is a major obstacle impeding humanitarian organisations from reaching the population in need. Recently, most of the humanitarian programmes implemented in the eastern states of the country have been terminated, leaving the area with very limited humanitarian coverage and response capacity.
The European Commission's humanitarian assistance to Sudan focuses on providing funding for food assistance and nutrition programs in the regions where the global acute malnutrition (GAM) is the highest. The European Commission is scaling up its response to assist the displaced people in Darfur, support the voluntary return process and is advocating for greater humanitarian access. Thanks to Emergency Preparedness and Response Mechanisms the European Commission through its partners has been able to response quickly to new emergencies in Darfur, such as flooding and the yellow fever outbreak.