WFP Expands Emergency Response to Avert Famine in War-Torn Sudan

Published June 6, 2024

PORT SUDAN – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is urgently expanding its emergency food and nutrition assistance in war-torn Sudan amid the looming threat of famine, as conditions for civilians deteriorate and fighting intensifies in battle zones like El Fasher and Khartoum

The U.N. food agency is scaling up to provide lifesaving food and nutrition assistance to an additional 5 million people by the end of this year, doubling the number of people the U.N. World Food Programme had planned to support at the start of 2024. Hunger is deepening in Sudan and in neighboring countries to which millions of people have fled, creating a hunger crisis that could become the world’s largest.

“Sudan is in the grip of widespread hunger and malnutrition. The U.N. World Food Programme continues to expand its food and nutrition assistance to reach millions more people who are living through the daily horrors of war. The situation is already catastrophic and has the potential to worsen further unless support reaches all those affected by conflict,” said Michael Dunford, U.N. World Food Programme’s regional director for Eastern Africa.

As part of the scale up of assistance, the U.N. World Food Programme will provide support in cash to 1.2 million people in 12 states. This also gives a vital boost to local markets and food producers. The U.N. World Food Programme is also increasing how much food or cash it provides to people facing the most extreme levels of hunger – more than 2 million people across more than 40 hunger hotspots identified by the U.N. World Food Programme. Certain communities in these areas – mostly in regions where fighting is ongoing, like the Darfurs, Kordofans, Khartoum and Gezira – are at a high-risk of slipping into famine-like conditions if they do not receive urgent and sustained support.

“The situation in Sudan is not so much forgotten as neglected. It is already the largest displacement crisis in the world, and it has the potential to become the world’s largest hunger crisis. As global leaders focus elsewhere, it is not receiving the necessary attention and support to avert a nightmare scenario for the people of Sudan. The world cannot claim it doesn’t know how bad the situation is in Sudan or that urgent action is needed,” said Dunford.

The U.N. World Food Programme is working around the clock to expand access and open new humanitarian corridors to get food supplies moving to communities in all parts of the country – across frontlines from eastern Sudan via Dabbah in Northern State, from Kosti into the Kordofans, and across borders from Chad, Egypt, and South Sudan. The U.N. World Food Programme is also pre-positioning food at key border crossings and along supply routes because the imminent rainy season will make roads in the Darfurs and Kordofans impassable.

Additionally, the U.N. World Food Programme is working with small-scale farmers, many displaced by conflict, to boost wheat production. The first harvest supported through this program – financed by the African Development Bank – gave 170,000 farmers climate-adapted wheat seeds and fertilizer, boosting their production by up to 70% over the last year and offering them a vital safety net as Sudan’s lean season begins.

Against the backdrop of the ongoing war, humanitarian agencies are struggling to support everyone in need. Food security is drastically deteriorating and could hit levels not seen in Sudan since the early 2000s. Famine-like conditions are caused not only by a lack of food, but also a lack of medical care and clean water – all a devastating reality for Sudan’s population. People in Sudan are resorting to desperate measures like eating grass and wild leaves just to survive. Malnutrition among children in Sudan has also hit shocking levels, leaving an entire generation at risk. Children are already dying of malnutrition-related causes.

Notes to editor:

  • The U.N. World Food Programme has provided assistance to over 6.7 million people in all of Sudan’s 18 states since the conflict started in April 2023.
  • The U.N. World Food Programme urgently needs over $200 million to continue delivering lifesaving assistance through the rest of the year.

For high resolution photos of the U.N. World Food Programme’s operations in Sudan, please contact Leni Kinzli.

For broadcast quality footage from Sudan, please contact Jonathan Dumont.

#                    #                      #

The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and the world’s leading humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on X, formerly Twitter, via @wfp_media, @wfp_africa and @wfp_sudan