Recent political changes in Sudan could potentially usher in a better future for its citizens. However, the country is still reeling from the effects of decades of conflict, and a poor state of basic essential services for the people, such as health and education. On top of this, a failing economy has increased the price of food. At the same time, Sudan is prone to disease outbreaks and natural hazards.
President Omar Al Bashir was removed from power in April 2019, after 30 years of incumbency and months of civil unrest. A new transitional government took office in September 2019. Humanitarian needs in Sudan are still on the increase as the country has embarked on a fragile transition.
More than 9 million people in Sudan require humanitarian assistance (OCHA). High food prices, cash and fuel shortages and the disruption of basic services have left vulnerable people struggling, especially internally displaced people and refugees. 6.2 million people are experiencing food shortages (FAO/WFP), while undernutrition rates in the country are among the highest in the world: 2.5 million children (1 in 6) and mothers suffer from acute malnutrition, a life-threating condition (UNICEF).
Sudan hosts more than 3 million displaced people who had to flee from their homes for their safety, either from within Sudan itself or from other countries, mostly from South Sudan (UNHCR). Resources in the hosting areas are overstretched, food supplies are running short, education and health is under-resourced and organisations are reporting shortages of essential medicines across the country which are affecting the whole Sudanese population.
Against this backdrop of dire humanitarian needs, it is crucial that humanitarian partners have timely and unfettered access to the people in need.
Since 2011, the EU has allocated close to €550 million in life-saving assistance to people in Sudan affected by conflict, food shortages and malnutrition, natural hazards or disease outbreaks. The overall humanitarian response in Sudan continues to address the most critical needs (mainly food and nutritional assistance, shelter, emergency healthcare, access to clean water, education and protection assistance) despite numerous challenges, such as the lack of emergency capacity and a critical funding gap.
The bulk of EU humanitarian aid in Sudan goes to food assistance and nutritional care. It supports the most vulnerable households – mostly internally displaced and refugee families - that are struggling to get enough food to meet their needs. The EU also contributes to the nutritional treatment and care of children under 5 years of age, and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers across Sudan.
In refugee hosting areas, EU funds support registration, reception and basic services. They also help with the screening for malnutrition, diseases and possible protection needs, together with the subsequent referral of people in need of special help.
In order to increase people’s access to long-term social protection in Sudan, the EU is complementing humanitarian funding with development assistance that helps communities build resilience.