Skip to content

Sudan crisis: Millions facing famine and in desperate need of aid one year on

12 April 2024

As the world marks the one-year anniversary (15 April) of the devastating conflict in Sudan, the plight of its people has reached unprecedented levels of suffering. Since the outbreak of fierce fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in mid-April 2023, the humanitarian emergency has escalated to alarming proportions.

According to the United Nations, over 8 million Sudanese have been compelled to flee their homes in search of safety, both within and outside the country, because of the conflict. This mass displacement has led to a surge in sexual and gender-based violence, along with a sharp increase in family separations. Combined with the 3.8 million internally displaced persons from previous conflicts, Sudan is now grappling with the largest internal displacement crisis globally, with more than 3 million children among those displaced.

The impact on food security has been particularly dire, with nearly 18 million Sudanese – almost one in three – facing acute food insecurity, the highest recorded during the harvest season. Five million people are experiencing emergency levels of food insecurity, with catastrophic conditions prevailing in areas like West and Central Darfur, where conflict has been most intense. Serious disease outbreaks, including cholera, further exacerbate the crisis, with two-thirds of the population lacking access to healthcare.

Sudan is in crisis

In total, approximately 24.8 million Sudanese, nearly half of the country's population, are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. However, despite the scale of the catastrophe, the funding coverage for UN humanitarian response appeals stands at a mere 7%, leaving critical life-saving interventions severely underfunded.

According to the UN World Food Programme, nearly 18 million are struggling with acute hunger, more than double last year's figure. The ongoing conflict has forced over eight million people from their homes, worsening Sudan's humanitarian crisis.

Donate to help refugees fleeing conflict

The Sudan International Humanitarian Conference in Paris on Monday, 15 April, serves as a crucial platform to address this pressing issue.

Telley Sadia, CAFOD’s Country Representative for Sudan, emphasises the urgent need for action, stating: “The crisis in Sudan has reached unprecedented levels, eclipsing even the most severe displacement crises worldwide.

Telley continues: “Famine looms ominously, threatening to become the worst food crisis in living memory. Despite harvest season, children are already succumbing to starvation, while food prices skyrocket. Famine looms ominously, threatening to become the worst food crisis in living memory.

“CAFOD is on the ground in Sudan and neighbouring countries, working tirelessly alongside local partners. The situation is dire; countless women and children, starving and traumatised, face unbearable circumstances. The situation is so unbearable, faithful Muslims have been enquiring about teachings on suicide: they see no way out from this terrible conflict and its ensuing man-made famine. Action is not just necessary; it's a moral imperative to prevent further devastation.

“Moreover, there is a pressing need for an immediate ceasefire, civilian protection, and unimpeded humanitarian access. We call on donor governments and leaders to swiftly allocate the US$2.7 billion required for Sudan's relief efforts, ensuring funds reach local responders promptly. The situation demands not just attention but decisive action to prevent further devastation. As CAFOD and local partners work tirelessly on the ground, the international community must step up to provide the necessary support and resources to alleviate the suffering of the Sudanese people.”

Pope Francis urged the world to resist "the logic of weapons" in his Easter message at the Vatican. “May the Lord open paths of peace on the African continent, especially for the suffering peoples in Sudan and in the entire region of the Sahel, in the Horn of Africa.”

How has CAFOD been responding?

Thankfully, with support from people like you, CAFOD has been able to allocate over £250,000 to its work with local partners, ensuring:

  • the provision of sanitation and hygiene services and facilities to South Sudanese refugees

  • cash assistance and hygiene services to support displaced people and vulnerable host communities in the White Nile state

  • support for Ethiopian refugees in East Sudan.

What can I do to help?

Please pray with us for peace in Sudan. Your donations to our Sudan Crisis Appeal can make a real difference to families who have been forced to leave behind jobs, personal belongings and loved ones.

Sudan Crisis Appeal

Conflict has broken out in Sudan, and hundreds of civilians have been caught up in the violence.

Interview with CAFOD's Head of Africa

Kayode Akintola, CAFOD's Head of Africa, explains more about the current situation and what you can do to help.

CAFOD Head of Africa - Kayode Akintola

CAFOD's Head of Africa, Kayode Akintola

Have you visited Sudan recently?

I visited in February 2023, and I can tell you, during my visit, I saw a very amazing set of people, people who just want a good life, people who just want a better society in which to live.

It's very shocking. Some of the places that I drove through or visited have seen destruction and people not being able to go about their normal life.

CAFOD is working alongside other agencies from the Caritas Internationalis network to support those most affected by the conflict.

It's very shocking. Some of the places that I drove through or visited have seen destruction and people not being able to go about their normal life.

Kayode Akintola, CAFOD's Head of Africa

What work do CAFOD supporters help to fund in Sudan?

CAFOD has been working in Sudan since the 1970s, and we support agriculture production, but also livelihood opportunities, particularly for smallholder farmers and women.

Sudan is also host to people who are looking for safety and had at least 20 refugee camps. We helped deliver clean water and sanitation in those camps and in host communities. Some of these refugees have fled from neighbouring countries because of the effects of climate change, and many are fleeing fighting.

Now, sadly, Sudan is itself in deep conflict as well. Some of our Sudan offices and their staff have had to be relocated due to the crisis. I am grateful to God that our staff and partners are safe at the moment.

What can we do to help with the Sudan conflict here in the UK?

Two things for now, are very immediate.

Please pray for Sudan. Please pray for the people of Sudan, pray for the peace of Sudan. That would be my very first, my very first appeal.

The second one is please speak to your MPs. Ask the government to act now. The international community must also demand the protection of civilians and pursue justice for victims of war crimes.

This is the time to actually make every effort to save every life because every life counts.

In a collective statement, the Catholic Bishops in Sudan and South Sudan urge the UN, the US, the UK and Norway - also referred to as the Troika - and other members of the international community to intensify their respective efforts to end the ongoing violence in Sudan.

The bishops also call for the continuation of 'necessary support' to those affected by the violence.

What is next for your work in Sudan?

Thankfully, we have been able to allocate over £250,000 of previous donations, which has already been sent to our teams and partners in South Sudan so that refugee families can be helped quickly.

However, the looming hunger crisis and conflict means the numbers of people crossing the borders is only going to get higher.

The UN Security Council urges an immediate ceasefire in Sudan and has emphasised the need for swift aid delivery and civilian protection. Action now is crucial.

We have been able to allocate over £250,000 of previous donations, which has already been sent to our teams and partners in South Sudan so that refugee families can be helped quickly

Kayode Akintola, CAFOD's Head of Africa

What gives you hope?

Even in the midst of all these killings, there have been efforts by people within communities to try to reach out to one another. People are sharing food supplies. People are wanting to share what they have, and that is the reality of how people in Sudan want to live.

People are looking forward to having a democratic government, so communities can really thrive. And people can really go about their life, without fear and in an atmosphere of peace, without conflict.


Pray with us for peace in Sudan

Share these CAFOD peace prayers with your parish or use them for personal prayer.