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Fighting in Darfur risks humanitarian disaster, warns UN

The threat of bloodshed, mass famine and starvation is growing as conflict in the year-long civil war intensifies in North Darfur

The 800,000 civilians living in the Sudanese city El Fasher are in 'extreme and immediate danger', the United Nations aid operations director, Edem Wosornu, has warned the UN security council.

Nearly 25 million people, half of Sudan's population, need aid and 8.6m have fled their homes, according to the UN.

Just over a year after the civil war began between the Sudan Armed Forces of General Abdel Fattah al Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo aka 'Hemeti', the fighting has intensified around El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur region (AC Vol 64 No 25, Preparing for an all-out fight in El Fasher).

This could 'unleash bloody intercommunal strife throughout Darfur', UN political affairs chief Rosemary DiCarlo warned the Security Council on 19 April.

In the meantime, the threat of mass famine and starvation is growing, say the UN and other humanitarian aid agencies.

Last month, the UN warned the international community that immediate action was needed to 'prevent widespread death and total collapse of livelihoods and avert a catastrophic hunger crisis in Sudan' (AC Vol 65 No 7, Ceasefire efforts resume as Burhan's forces go on offensive).

Amid fears that the ongoing wars in Ukraine, Yemen and Gaza have deflected attention from the violence and humanitarian catastrophe in Sudan, last week, donors responded to pleas for humanitarian funding by pledging US$2.13 billion in aid for Sudan. Top contributors were the European Union, which announced it would provide €355m in funding for Sudan and neighbouring nations, many which are hosting large numbers of refugees, France and Germany, who co-sponsored the donor conference in Paris, the United States and the United Kingdom. 

International leaders added that they were hoping to kick-start talks on a ceasefire between the two military leaders, neither of whom was invited to Paris.

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