ALEXANDRIA, Va – Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) has released the following statement:
The world is mostly ignoring the enormous suffering in Sudan as civilians are massacred and children are pushed towards starvation, Islamic Relief says.
Seven months of brutal conflict have destroyed lives, livelihoods and critical infrastructure. Communities are reporting horrific violence – including a massacre of around 1000 people in Darfur this month and reports of mass rape of women and civilians being enslaved or buried alive – yet the crisis has faded from international attention.
Around 6.2 million people – one in every eight people in Sudan – have now had to flee their homes since the conflict erupted in April. While about 1.2 million people have fled to neighbouring countries such as Chad and South Sudan, the vast majority, 5 million people, are displaced within Sudan, putting enormous pressure on impoverished host communities. Almost half of the entire population of Khartoum state has now been displaced, leaving the capital city a desolate ghost town with remaining residents forced to largely stay inside for fear of being shot in the streets.
Islamic Relief is seeing a rapid increase in malnourished children at the health clinics we support, with hunger levels rising as farmers are forced from their land and humanitarian convoys continue to be attacked. More than 3.4 million children are now reported to be acutely malnourished. The situation is expected to get worse and Islamic Relief has spoken to many farmers in breadbasket regions who say they might not be able to plant crops over the winter season.
Around three quarters of hospitals in conflict-affected areas are no longer operating, leaving most people without access to healthcare and highly vulnerable to cholera, malaria and other potentially fatal diseases. These have spread even to currently conflict free areas like Gedaref.
More than 10,000 people have officially been killed by the violence, but fatalities are believed to be underreported and the death toll from hunger, disease and lack of basic services could rise far higher. The UN is warning that at least 10,000 children under five years old could die by the end of 2023.
At least 45 aid workers have been killed or detained during the conflict so far. Despite the extreme insecurity Islamic Relief has provided humanitarian aid to over 310,000 people since the conflict began, including food and livelihoods support to over 230,000 people and health and nutrition support to over 55,000. But much more is needed as the violence spreads.
Elsadig Elnour, Islamic Relief’s Country Director in Sudan, says: “The suffering in Sudan is enormous and seven months of unimaginable violence has destroyed millions of lives. If anything the level of violence is getting even more horrific, yet it feels like the international community has forgotten or ignored the people of Sudan when we need them most. The violence in Darfur now recalls what happened 20 years ago. We’re hearing reports of people being massacred and buried alive. We are seeing rising malnutrition and families plunged into starvation and we are terrified that we could be on the verge of famine.
“People desperately need aid yet the UN-led response plan has only 33% of the funding it needs. We urgently need the international community to increase humanitarian aid and step up diplomatic pressure for a ceasefire. We need Sudanese people and the parties to the conflict to sit together and settle this suffering. Together the world must act to stop the misery which has taken hold in Sudan.”
In October Islamic Relief released a needs assessment which showed 93% of people surveyed in the Jabal Marra area of Darfur have lost income and struggle to get food and healthcare, with increasingly desperate families turning to begging and child labour amid strained finances. It found almost nine out of ten people 86% are struggling or not able to meet their basic needs.
Syed M. Hassan
(571) 421-7032 (CELL)
Islamic Relief USA, based in Alexandria, Va., is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) humanitarian organization. Its mission is to provide relief and development in a dignified manner regardless of gender, race, or religion, and works to empower individuals in their communities and give them a voice in the world. Its programs benefit millions of people each year in more than 40 countries around the world, including in the United States.
Islamic Relief USA meets all of the Standards for Charity Accountability of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a national charity monitoring group affiliated with the Better Business Bureau system. Islamic Relief USA is on the U.S. government’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) charity list, and it is also a signatory to the code of conduct of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.