Sudan conflict: a year of hunger, missing families and heartache

Sudan needs our attention. After a year of conflict, one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises is taking hold.

Family gatherings look very different for Antasar Jouma Adam now. A year ago she, her husband and son enjoyed dinner, Suhoor (pre-dawn meals) and Ramadan breakfast together.

Life was reassuringly ordinary, but now, 16 of her family members - including her husband - are missing. Fleeing violence in their hometown, Antasar and her son are spending Ramadan without them, in temporary shelter.

A year of conflict in Sudan has caused vast humanitarian needs across the country and beyond its borders, causing millions suffering and pain.

People do not have access to safe shelter, healthcare services, food or water. On top of this the intensity of the conflict has only been rising in recent weeks, meaning more hunger, fatalities and people having to flee.

The psychological impact of the conflict hits hard during celebrations like Eid. Antasar sorely misses her family.

"For me, one of the saddest things is that my husband is not around me”, she says, lonely and comforting her traumatised son.

“And my missing nephews, my aunts - we know nothing about them.”

"I hope that God will bring the families of all the Sudanese together again"

Duration of video: 01:18

Conflict sparked up in Sudan on 15 April 2023, spiralling to surrounding towns and villages. As fatalities started to grow, people in affected areas fled their homes at pace and continue to do so.

Now, the country is facing one of the largest and most complex humanitarian crises in the world, with more than 8.1 million people displaced inside and outside its borders.

Most people have sought refuge in southern Sudan, while 1.8 million others crossed the borders into vulnerable countries. The influx of people has increased the pressure on fragile resources and services such as food, water, and healthcare.

"The world's largest hunger crisis" 

Sudan's conflict has also driven hunger to record levels, with 18 million people facing acute malnutrition. The majority of people seeking refuge are women and children, in desperate need of urgent support.

Of these, more than 3 million children under five are suffering from acute malnutrition and an estimated 3.6 million pregnant and breastfeeding women are acutely malnourished.

These numbers are unprecedented for Sudan, and according to the UN’s World Food Programme,

Sudan risks becoming the world's largest hunger crisis, unless fighting stops.

As fighting intensifies and resources run out, the situation is Sudan is likely to deteriorate further.

Red Crescent teams have been there from the start

Conflict means that getting access to humanitarian aid is becoming harder and harder for people in Sudan.

But staff from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and volunteers from the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) have played a crucial role in the humanitarian response over the past 12 months. This is despite going through the same struggles and anguish themselves.

Among other things, they have helped hundreds of families reconnect with their missing relatives, supplied medical materials to hospitals, and sent a surgical team to operate on wounded people.

They also evacuated 300 children and 72 caretakers from the Maygoma orphanage in Khartoum to Wad Madani, and ten more children at an orphanage in Umbadda neighbourhood of Khartoum to Wad Madani.

Wajdan Hassan Ahmed, an Sudanese Red Crescent Society nurse for over 15 years, recalls the terrible situation millions of people in Sudan have already been through. She says:

The year of conflict was one of the most difficult that I lived as a citizen and volunteer in Sudan. 

Among the many difficult moments were “the evacuations of people who were disfigured during the conflict, the stories of fathers who lost their daughters, mothers who lost their children, parents who lost all their family members,” she recalls.

Please help us support people in Sudan

As conflict continues in Sudan, more people are going to need support from the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. People like Marina, a mother of six, who recently returned to Sudan and was caught up in the latest conflict.

"When we came back to Sudan, the houses we left were not there anymore.

"We had no money to buy soap, no money to buy some sorghum to eat with the children. The issue of food has been solved for now, thanks to the Red Crescent, we have been given food.”

If you can, please donate to our Emergencies Fund, so we can help support crises like Sudan.

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