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Dear world, Sudan needs your help. Why are you ignoring us?

Dear world, Sudan needs your help. Why are you ignoring us?
5 min read

Yassmin Abdel-Magied

24 June, 2024
Sudan's war worsens by the day: famine looms in Al-Fashir while the RSF threatens to partition Darfur. Yet the world is silent, writes Yassmin Abdel-Magied.
We must lay down our weapons, and only then can the future of Sudan begin, writes Yassmin Abdel-Magied [photo credit: Getty Images]

I sometimes wonder about the futility in continuing to write about the deteriorating situation in Sudan.

We write and we write and we brief and we report and we relay and we repackage and we try to find as many ways as possible to say the same thing: the situation in Sudan is urgent, and the Sudanese people need help now.

Yet, the violence continues. Every time I sit down to write a piece about the conflict, the numbers are worse, and I wonder what difference these words make.  

Almost two weeks have passed since the UN Security Council adopted resolution 2736, demanding the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) end the siege of Al-Fashir and call for an immediate cessation of fighting in and around the city. They didn't listen. The intense violence in Sudan continues.

Hospitals and pharmacies remain targets. Healthcare personnel on the frontline are being killed, drastically limiting the options available for civilians who require medical attention. The ongoing violence means no outside help can reach them, one of the many untenable elements of the catastrophe facing the people of Al-Fashir, a city sheltering nearly two million people. 

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According to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), one of the few international organisations still operating in the city, at least 260 Sudanese have been killed and 1,630 injured since the fighting began in the city six weeks ago. 

Only 22 aid trucks have reached Al-Fashir in the past three months — due to restrictions enforced by both the RSF and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) — leaving the civilian population malnourished, sick, and facing a slow, painful death. 

All eyes on Sudan fall on deaf ears

"The noose of war is tightening its stronghold on a civilian population that is under attack from all sides," said Clementine Nkweta-Salami, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, about Al-Fashir a month ago.

"Sudan continues to spiral into chaos," said Edem Wosornu, OCHA's Director of Operations and Advocacy, to the UNSC in June.

Last week, a group of 60 civil society organisations appealed to the international community for "action" and urged donors to meet the financial pledges they made in Paris on April 15, the one-year anniversary of the war. Days ago, UN News's Khaled Mohamed said of the humanitarian situation: "We're in a race against time, but the time is running out." 

It's difficult to know what more can be said, but as long as the situation does not improve, we will keep saying it. 

Now, there are over 10 million who have been forced from their homes, 55 percent of whom are children under 18 years old, and approximately a quarter under five, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Famine, the kind Sudanese people have not seen for decades, is looming frighteningly on the horizon, despite the efforts of the World Food Program and others who are doing the best they can with the limited resources available.

According to the WFP, 18 million people are acutely food insecure and five million are facing starvation, the highest number ever recorded during the harvest season. The US is on the record saying that ‘famine has likely descended’. MSF has reported that in Zamzam camp, one child dies from hunger every two hours.

It does not have to be this way. 

The numbers above can be difficult to comprehend, our brains are unable to imagine the scale. The displacement of a group five times the population of Paris? The number of people needing humanitarian assistance equal to the entire population of Australia? As many as the population of New Zealand facing literal starvation? 

What would we do, if the entire population of New Zealand was dying of starvation? If every Swede in Sweden was forced to flee their home?

Almost a billion dollars were pledged to restore Notre Dame after the fire nearly destroyed it in 2019. Less than half of that has been received for Sudan, only 16% of the $2.7 billion ask.

While there have been some welcome announcements, like an additional $315 million from the US, this is not nearly enough. We are over 400 days into this neglected conflict, where generations of lives are being lost, in front of our eyes.

Voices

There are no excuses for inaction, for the lack of prioritisation this war has received. Sudanese people, millions of innocent civilians who have gallantly and peacefully fought for their own freedom, deserve better, from their leaders and from the international community. 

So, while I echo the demands of Edem Wosornu, OCHA’s Director of Operations and Advocacy for the protection of civilians, for sustained and expanded access and for increased aid funding, my real demand has been the demand of all Sudanese since April 2023: this war must stop. 

There is no future for Sudan if we do our talking with guns. We must lay down our weapons, and only then can the future of Sudan begin. 

Until then, we need all the help we can get. Without help, there won’t be a Sudanese people to save. 

Yassmin Abdel-Magied is a Sudanese-Australian author and social justice advocate. She is a regular columnist for The New Arab.

Follow her on Twitter: @yassmin_a

Have questions or comments? Email us at: editorial-english@newarab.com.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, its editorial board or staff.