The European Union responds to a variety of emergencies in Sudan ranging from conflict and population displacements to severe food insecurity and malnutrition. The immense needs call for large-scale humanitarian assistance. Although travel procedures have been relaxed, humanitarians continue to work in a restrictive environment which prevents them from reaching all people in need in a timely manner.
Sudan is facing a displacement crisis. Thirteen years since the start of the Darfur crisis, 2.7 million people continue to be uprooted in this region alone while conflict also affects South Kordofan and Blue Nile. More than 180 000 South Sudanese refugees have arrived in 2017 alone, 65% of them children. Many of the displaced, host communities and refugees rely heavily on aid to access essential services such as health care and water, and to improve their living conditions.
Acute malnutrition rates are among the highest in Africa. 1 in 6 children suffers from acute malnutrition, 1 in 20 from its most severe form which is likely to cause death unless treated. In 2017, 3.6 million people will face severe food insecurity. In recent months, considerable new humanitarian needs have emerged, with the spread of suspected cholera across 12 states, a mass influx of South Sudanese refugees and high malnutrition in newly accessible areas of Jebel Marra, Darfur.
More funding is required to deal with these multiple and complex crises. The 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan appeals for $803 million and is currently less than 38% funded. Improvements towards a more flexible operating environment also need to continue.
Since 2011, the EU has mobilised €376 million for life-saving assistance to people affected by conflict, natural disasters, food insecurity and malnutrition. The EU acts on all fronts, assisting thousands of forcibly displaced people and refugees while also supporting the crucial fight against malnutrition and addressing the impact of natural disaster such as floods and droughts.
In close collaboration with its humanitarian partners, the EU supports a principled and needs-based approach in Sudan aimed at reaching the most affected and vulnerable populations in a complex and restrictive environment. Support is provided in the fields of health and nutrition, water and sanitation, shelter, protection, emergency education, food security and livelihoods.
Much of the EU humanitarian aid goes to addressing the needs of conflict-affected people, with a focus on new emergencies. Two such emergencies are the high levels of malnutrition that were found in areas of Jebel Marra which have only recently become accessible to humanitarians and the mass refugee influx from South Sudan. With hundreds of new arrivals each day, EU humanitarian funds help to organise the reception of the new refugees, ensure that they receive shelter and basic household items, and are able to access basic services such as health care, water and sanitation facilities.
Food assistance and nutrition account for the bulk of the EU humanitarian aid funding in Sudan. In 2016, more than 223 000 children who suffered from severe acute malnutrition were treated and the target for 2017 is to treat 250 000 children. Malnutrition levels are above emergency thresholds in 11 out of 18 Sudanese states. The EU is contributing to the countrywide scale up of malnutrition treatment.
The European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department has offices in the capital Khartoum and in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur. EU humanitarian staff in the country assess the humanitarian needs while at the same time identify gaps in the response and monitoring the implementation of projects.