We at the African humanitarian organisation ForAfrika urge the forces embroiled in conflict in Sudan to avoid a crisis of tremendous proportions by working swiftly to find a political solution to their differences.
It is tragic that thousands of civilians are trapped in Sudan’s capital city, Khartoum as well as other cities, because a ceasefire between warring factions collapsed on Tuesday 18 April 2023. The detente was called to allow residents of the city, trapped by the conflict that erupted on 15 April, to obtain desperately needed relief and supplies.
“The cost to human life and the amount of suffering that this conflict will precipitate is unconscionable. We plead for sober reflection and negotiations that will end the fighting,” says Charles Wentzel, ForAfrika’s disaster response director.
ForAfrika has time and again witnessed the trauma unleashed on people by war, discord and natural disasters.
ForAfrika’s chief programmes officer, Abeba Amene says, “It is easy to start a war and almost impossible to end it. Here in South Sudan, where we have our largest operations, we are still dealing with the fallout of the civil war that led to the founding of South Sudan in 2011.”
Sudan has long been a point of stability and a place to which refugees fled, in a region mired in conflict, says Wentzel. ForAfrika knows well the hidden costs of conflict, such as people who have ordinary medical needs and who suddenly cannot access treatment. Already nearly half of Khartoum’s hospitals are closed. Others are running out of supplies, limiting their ability to treat those injured in the conflict as well as people with ordinary medical needs. It is likely that some of these people will die. Many more will lose livelihoods and the comfort of a community.
We are furthermore dismayed at the news that three World Food Programme staff members have been killed in the conflict. We know how difficult it is, logistically and emotionally, to provide assistance in situations in which the conditions and the politics are so fluid. Our hearts go out to all humanitarian workers operating in Khartoum and all other affected cities.