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The Africa Report

Sameera Casmod |
27 February 2024 | 12:12 p.m. SAST
2 minute read

Nearly a year since the violence in the region began, displaced Sudanese people in the ZamZam camp in North Darfur are suffering from high levels of malnutrition and insufficient humanitarian aid.

Dwindling international focus on what the United Nations has described as one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent history has left the Sudanese people feeling abandoned. The catastrophic effects of the war are being felt in every area of Sudan, resulting in the displacement of 1 500 Sudanese people per day.

Image: Business Day.
Mohammad Ghannam/MSF/Handout via REUTERS

In April 2023, war broke out in Sudan due to power struggles between the military and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The dispute has wrecked parts of Sudan, including Darfur and the capital, Kartoum, with a death toll exceeding 13 000 and an extremely dire humanitarian, internal displacement, and famine crisis.

“The Sudanese people feel they’ve been abandoned, and they’re standing by their own, by their own, at this critical time… The humanitarian situation there, it’s, according to the UN, it’s one of the worst in recent history, if it’s not the worst. So people are suffering, whether in Khartoum, in Darfur, at the border of the neighbouring countries. It’s a real, true catastrophe,” says Saeed Abdullah, a Sudanese journalist based in Johannesburg.

Zamzam, the oldest and largest refugee camp in Sudan, is home to more than 300 000 displaced Sudanese. Originally formed in 2003 by people fleeing ethnically targeted violence in the region, the camp is now facing a severe starvation crisis. The camp is heavily reliant on increasingly dwindling and insufficient international humanitarian aid.

“Now, at the moment, a child dies almost every two hours. One in every four children is acutely malnourished… The mortality rate at the camp is so high, almost ten times higher than what was expected,” Abdullah says.

Conflicts in other parts of the world have contributed to the decrease in aid for Sudan. The continuous conflict poses challenges to the adequate distribution of the aid packages that do reach the country, Abdullah notes.

The cost of the war on Sudan’s children is terrifying, Abdullah says.

“The number of children that were raped, secluded, killed, is terrifying… We speak about 700 000 likely to suffer from severe malnutrition.”

Abdullah paints a grim picture of child soldiers who are approximately 12–14 years old and are taking part in the conflict.

International intervention in Sudan is imperative, Abdullah notes, in order to start recouping the humanitarian debt of war.

Negotiation efforts have thus far been inconclusive and act as a wily political subterfuge.

“The AU is not doing enough to deal with the situation in Sudan…South Africa is trying to deal with the issue through the AU…and that’s really not working,” Saeed said of Africa’s negotiation attempts.

Listen to the Africa Report on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Sulaimaan Ravat here.


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