The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that 11.7 million people were facing acute hunger between June and September, an increase of nearly 2 million, compared to the same period last year.
The deepening food crisis in Sudan is caused mainly by the county’s fragile economy, prolonged dry spells, reduced areas cultivated, and erratic rainfall said the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
The dark assessment comes as the East African nation has plunged into turmoil since a military coup in October.
The military’s takeover also derailed international-backed efforts to overhaul the battered economy and stalled billions in assistance from the West and global financial institutions.
Most of those suffering from acute hunger is in the capital, Khartoum, the Darfur region and the provinces of Kassala and White Nile, which were the hardest hit by conflict and economic decline, OCHA said.
It said around 4 million children under age 5 and pregnant and nursing women are estimated to be acutely malnourished and need humanitarian life-saving nutrition. The figure included 618,950 children under 5 with severe acute malnutrition, of whom around 93,000 suffer from medical complications and need specialized care.
The U.N. said its humanitarian response for Sudan in 2022 received $414.1 million, out of a total requirement of $1.94 billion.
The World Food Program said it was forced to cut rations for refugees across Sudan because of severe funding shortfalls. Starting from July, the agency said that more than 550,000 refugees would receive only half of a standard food basket, whether as in-kind food or cash-based transfers.
It warned that such cuts could exacerbate protection risks as refugees may resort to harmful coping mechanisms, including school drop-out, child labour, early marriage and sexual and gender-based violence.
Since October 25, 2021, Sudan has been witnessing a severe political crisis after the Commander-in-Chief of the Sudanese army, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, declared a state of emergency, the dissolution of the Sovereignty Councils and the transitional ministers, and the dismissal of the governors, arrest of party leaders, ministers and officials. Since then, protests rejecting these measures and describing them as a “military coup” have been taking place in Sudan.