Conflict-Induced Famine in Sudan: The Need for Food Emergency Response

U.N. agencies reported that over 18 million people in Sudan including 3.6 million extremely malnourished children, were facing acute hunger and that famine was near. The peripheries of Sudan suffered a food emergency with the halt of food aid and the reduction of wheat imports. The continued conflict in Sudan has already caused widespread displacement and poses a threat of igniting the world’s greatest food catastrophe, the World Food Programme (WFP) forewarned. Nearly 9 million people have been forced to evacuate their homes, creating the greatest displacement catastrophe in history, according to Clementine Nkweta-Salami, the top UN humanitarian official in Sudan. According to the UN agency, only 5 percent of Sudanese people “can afford a square meal a day” at the moment.


Amidst the world’s largest international displacement crisis and imminent famine catastrophe, Sudan is one of the worst humanitarian disasters in recent memory. 222,000 youngsters are at a life threat from malnutrition in the upcoming weeks and months.  Anette Hoffmann of the Clingendael think tank predicts the worst famine in decades as a result of the war in Sudan, claiming it is the cause of the world’s greatest hunger crisis. Lieutenant General Ibrahim Jaber, the second-in-command of the armed forces, has refuted this claim and stated that Sudan has more than it needs and would not go hungry since the army has periodically distributed small amounts of food supplies throughout the fighting.


Food insecurity, a form of structural violence along with the war-led food emergency perpetuates famine. With two million forced evictions and over eight million displaced people, Sudan is experiencing the worst displacement catastrophe in history. Consequently, the breaking of the vicious cycle of food insecurity is a need for an hour. It is found that the crashing down of Sudan’s food economy is due to multiple compounded factors like war-led food insecurity and mass displacement of population, drought and disruption of village agriculture, heavy dependence on food aid, macroeconomic crisis, etc.  Similarly, using hunger as a weapon by both the conflicting parties harmed the Agro-food systems from production to distribution, destruction of crops, and disruption of markets and supply-chain systems.


The UN reports 25 million Sudanese people require humanitarian assistance, with 18 million facing food insecurity. Sudan’s civil war, triggered by rival government factions, has killed thousands and forced 8 million people to flee, causing famine due to lack of aid and precarious conditions. The conflict destroyed infrastructure and crippled Sudan’s economy when the El Fasher clashes resulted in 15,550 deaths, and 8.8 million displaced persons as the SAF and RSF’s conflict intensified. Structural destruction, extortion, and a spike in food costs are the results of hostilities. It is anticipated that this catastrophe will intensify into the greatest hunger crisis on record. UN officials warned the Security Council that the conflict between Sudan’s warring parties is fueling a hunger crisis that could potentially lead to famine for millions of people. An immediate call of action to end the hostilities before an entire generation is destroyed and the region as a whole is destabilized has been. Khalil Serebal, the President of the Sudanese Red Crescent, calls for the immediate deployment of medical, psychological, and environmental relief to affected areas such as West Darfur and Khartoum.


In Sudan, Conflict-induced food insecurities promoted vicious cycle of poverty that spirals into degrading living conditions, disastrous hunger crisis, and famine. Food Emergency Response should be in service in an immediate effect and the disbursing of Emergency Fund in cooperation with the international community to avert the possible humanitarian catastrophe. Facilitating humanitarian assistance can address the structural causes, and dependable supply networks to break this vicious cycle. Humanitarian aid is essential, but it is not the answer to this scourge, the solution is sustainable peace, by reconciling the parties in conflict to come to the table. For this, the need to facilitate peacebuilding measures and political solutions to end the conflict itself has to be done.