Press Release

Statement to the Press on Sudan

05 October 2023

Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Ms.Clementine Nkweta-Salami



Good morning,


The past six months have caused untold suffering in Sudan.


Some 5.4 million people have fled their homes and are today displaced within Sudan or in neighbouring countries.


That is an average of more than 30,000 a day, many fleeing with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Sudan has become the world’s fastest-growing displacement crisis.


I have talked to many of the displaced who’ve told me how their lives have been completely upended.


I have met displaced mothers in Sudan who do not know where to find the next meal for their children.


I have met families sleeping in makeshift shelters, struggling to find food and water, unable to access health care, their children out of school and the family breadwinners out of work.


Half of Sudan’s population – 24.7 million people – now require humanitarian aid and protection as the conflict, displacement, and disease outbreaks threaten to consume the entire country.


The conflict has already crippled Sudan’s health sector with 70 per cent of all hospitals no longer functional.


The conflict could reach areas like Jazirah State, Sudan’s breadbasket. This would have grave consequences for food security.

And as the fighting spreads, we are receiving reports of increasing cases of sexual and gender- based violence, enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, and grave violations of human and children’s rights.


In recent weeks, another shock has hit Sudan as heavy rains and floods have affected more than 70,000 people across seven states [Northern, River Nile, North Darfur, Gedaref, White Nile, North Kordofan, and South Kordofan].


I am concerned that this could lead to more outbreaks of water-borne diseases. There is already a cholera outbreak declared in the eastern state of Gedaref, and we are investigating if it has spread to Khartoum and South Kordofan.


Battling a cholera outbreak in a warzone is difficult at the best of times. With fighting escalating, it may be near-impossible to control.


Four months ago [11 May] the parties meeting in Jeddah committed to de-escalate the fighting, minimize civilian harm and refrain from any disproportionate attacks. But since then, the killing of civilians has continued in Khartoum, Nyala, Al Fasher, and other areas.


Just two weeks ago scores were injured in an attack on a crowded market in southern Khartoum.


I call, once again, on the parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and take immediate steps to safeguard civilians.


The humanitarian response is a lifeline for millions of people.


UN aid organizations have reached at least 3.6 million people working with and through Sudanese humanitarian workers, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, including the Emergency Response Rooms. I applaud our Sudanese partners without whom little could have been achieved.


We have been able to deliver assistance through a cross-border mechanism from Chad and into Darfur. In mid-September, nearly 3,000 metric tons of aid supplies were delivered by 66 trucks across six states. But we need to be able to deliver much more – safely, repeatedly, and fast.


We need to reach 18 million people. We will not give up on that target. But we need more international support, better access to the people who need us, and safety for our operations.

Nineteen aid workers have been killed and 29 injured. It is unacceptable – and it is unlawful.


We also need to see an end to interference from the conflict parties in our operations, including forced checks of humanitarian trucks and mandatory military presence during the loading process in Port Sudan and Jazirah.


I hope that we will see swift action to reduce bureaucratic obstacles - including delays in visa approvals for staff - as promised by Sudanese authorities in a donor meeting yesterday.


Lastly, a word on funding: the $2.6 billion humanitarian appeal is just one third funded. I thank those donors who have stepped up and urge all donors to increase funding to bridge the funding gap for organizations providing critical assistance. This includes support for the Sudan Humanitarian Fund, which provides funding to our national partners.


The population of Sudan is balancing on a knife’s edge as their country is gradually consumed by this conflict.


We need the parties to live up to their commitments and to live up to their obligations.


And we need the world to show much more solidarity – or we may witness Sudan falling off the cliff.


Thank you.


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