UN Warns of Collapse in Sudan As Fighting Enters Third Week

UN Warns of Collapse in Sudan As Fighting Enters Third Week

Sudan has entered its third week of fighting and according to UN experts it appears to be quickly escalating. A fierce war pitting Sudan’s top generals against one another is tearing the nation apart, leaving thousands dead.

Sudan already had high humanitarian needs before this outbreak of fighting broke out; they reached record highs before now. An estimated 15.8 million people (about one third of its population) require urgent aid assistance.

UN Warns of Collapse

The United Nations has issued a stark warning about Sudan, where conditions are rapidly worsening. They urged all parties to cease fighting that has caused severe food and fuel shortages in Khartoum, the capital.

Joyce Msuya, UN’s Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator has warned that clashes will not only deepen Sudan’s need for aid but could unleash an entirely new set of humanitarian challenges. She noted that already limited humanitarian and health assistance resources have already been exhausted and estimated that about one third of Sudan’s population — 15 million+ individuals — require help in order to survive.

Additionally, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has suspended operations in Yemen due to limited medical supplies; as a result of this situation there is the danger that health system could collapse as well. WHO also appealed to both warring parties to end violence so civilians may receive medical care.

Latest Developments

Tensions between Sudan’s top two generals erupted this week, bringing its capital city of Khartoum to a standstill as they waged a deadly power struggle for control of the nation. It’s the latest chapter of an ongoing power struggle between two men who helped overthrow President Omar al-Bashir four years ago.

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Fighting has been spurred on by disagreements between two generals over plans to integrate Rapid Support Forces, a rebel group, into the military and bring back civilian rule in Sudan. They are also at odds over their roles within this new civilian-led government.

As violence enters its third week, international leaders and diplomats are increasingly alarmed. On Sunday afternoon, leaders of an African trade bloc known as IGAD held an extraordinary meeting where they announced plans to travel quickly to Khartoum.

UN Secretary-General AKUEI BONA MALWAL told the Security Council today that member states should exercise patience and not undermine Sudanese civil society, an integral component in Sudan’s journey toward peace, the return of civilian rule and democratic transition. He stressed that United Nations will remain engaged through reduced presence while monitoring ceasefire agreements for an assured ceasefire, negotiations to bring political parties back into talks and alleviation of human suffering.

Impact on Civilians

South Sudan has experienced one of the world’s deadliest civil wars since December 2013, when violence first broke out between ethnic militia groups. Armed groups have killed civilians along ethnic lines and committed rape or sexual violence against them; looted property from villages; destroyed it all and even recruited children into their ranks as members.

Millions of people have been uprooted from their homes and are living in dire conditions with limited formal infrastructure to transport food, water or medical supplies. Furthermore, the country is facing an health pandemic without sufficient resources available to fight it.

As fighting enters its third week, humanitarian organizations have issued warnings that this conflict has taken a dangerous turn for civilians. International law requires all parties to protect and facilitate safe passage for civilians.

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The United Nations calls upon all sides to respect this demand and adhere to international law and commit to an inclusive political process that includes Sudanese ownership of any future government. Any future government should be broad-based and civilian led, founded on principles such as democracy, freedom and human rights.

International Response

UN humanitarian leaders are calling upon both sides of a conflict to cease fighting and allow humanitarian access, adhering to international law and upholding civilians’ right to be evacuated from harm.

But she warned that, unless the conflict ends swiftly, the world could face an intensifying global crisis, potentially spilling over into neighboring countries and further endangering millions already facing life-threatening challenges and worsening humanitarian needs.

Joyce MSUYA, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, called on all sides to adhere to international law and protect civilians. She encouraged forces to allow safe passage for civilians trying to leave areas of hostilities, while assuring protection for aid workers, assets, and medical personnel.

Before the third week of fighting begins, UN humanitarian agencies are joining with government and private sector partners to deliver emergency assistance quickly and effectively. Their efforts include building or renovating health facilities; offering reproductive healthcare; treating communicable diseases as soon as they appear; helping communities understand their basic rights; access water & sanitation services quickly & more.

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