Violent armed clashes broke out in Khartoum on 15 April between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and quickly spread to the periphery.
This development comes following a prolonged political gridlock after the 2021 military coup.
Prior to the outbreak of violence, the political, security and economic instability, combined with a poor harvest, had already led to the worst humanitarian crisis in a decade.
The ongoing conflict will further exacerbate existing vulnerabilities and create new ones. The EU had stepped up its humanitarian aid to support the most vulnerable.
What are the needs?
According to the Sudanese Ministry of Health hundreds of people had been killed until 23 May, including 5 humanitarian workers, and more than 5,200 injured. UNICEF reports that at least 190 children have been killed. The actual toll is expected to be much higher.
Widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure continues, with hospitals, schools, markets, residences and Khartoum airport directly targeted and damaged amidst the fighting. A great number of humanitarian premises and assets have been looted or destroyed.
Shortages of food, clean water, medicines and fuel, along with limited communications and electricity, are reported throughout the country.
The crisis may trigger large-scale population movements, both within Sudan and in the region. As of 23 May, over 1 million people have been newly displaced.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that up to 815,000 people may flee to the neighbouring countries. Family separations are a major protection risk and concern.
Overall needs prior to April 2023
Prior to the ongoing conflict, the number of people requiring assistance has risen for the 5th year to reach 15.8 million, 1/3 of the population. This is 3 times the number it was in 2017.
The growing humanitarian needs in the country are driven by:
- a fragile political situation
- continued economic decline and inflation
- increased insecurity and violence in the periphery
- protracted and new displacements
- floods, dry spells and disease outbreaks.
Food insecurity is at the highest levels in a decade, with 11.7 million people (1/4 of the population) facing acute hunger. Sudan has one of the highest numbers of people in the emergency level of food insecurity (IPC4), with 3.1 million people affected.
Over 3 million children under 5 suffer from acute malnutrition, of which 650,000 suffer from severe acute malnutrition.
There are around 3.8 million internally displaced persons, including more than 418,000 newly displaced in 2022, fleeing conflict and tribal clashes (over 313,000) and floods or fire (105,000).
Sudan hosts more than 1.1 million refugees – one of the highest numbers in Africa – and almost all require humanitarian assistance.
The country’s political instability has led to a drastic reduction in the country’s financial capacity to respond to the growing needs and ensure essential services. The donor base is reduced, and the gap between humanitarian needs and available resources is widening.
The operating environment for humanitarian organisations is increasingly restrictive. It undermines the effectiveness and efficiency of programmes and delays the delivery of assistance and services to those in need.
How are we helping?
Latest emergency response
The EU has strongly urged all parties for a full compliance with international humanitarian law, including protection of civilians and humanitarian space. Safety and security of aid workers, premises and assets must be guaranteed so that they can provide emergency assistance to those affected.
Following the outbreak of violence, the EU has mobilised €200,000 for immediate relief and first aid assistance to those injured or exposed to high risk.
This EU emergency funding supports the Sudanese Red Crescent Society with first aid, evacuation services, and psychosocial support, helping around 70,000 people in Khartoum, Northern State, North Kordofan, South Darfur and North Darfur. The EU is also supporting the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia, and South Sudan.
The EU launched a Humanitarian Air Bridge to facilitate the transport of life-saving supplies to our humanitarian partners. As of 23 May, 3 flights transporting 90 tonnes of essential supplies arrived at Port Sudan from Dubai.
These flights were organised with the support of the UN Humanitarian Response Depot managed by the World Food Programme (WFP). The support provided by the Humanitarian Air Bridge includes water, sanitation and hygiene and shelter items. The operation will allow our humanitarian partners on the ground to deliver immediate assistance to those in need.
In addition, to assess the response at Sudan’s borders with Egypt, Chad, Ethiopia, the Central African Republic and South Sudan, we have dispatched several humanitarian experts to these regions.
EU humanitarian aid in the country
In 2023, the EU allocated €73 million in humanitarian assistance to Sudan. This funding will provide mainly emergency lifesaving essential services.
EU humanitarian aid provides communities with health and nutritional care, food assistance, water and sanitation, shelter, protection, and education to the most vulnerable households – internally displaced, refugee families and host communities.
The EU also contributes to the nutritional treatment and care of children under 5, and pregnant or breastfeeding women across Sudan.
Since 2013, the EU has mobilised almost €600 million in lifesaving assistance to people affected by conflict, food shortages and malnutrition, natural hazards or disease outbreaks.
In addition, the European Commission has been providing €100 million in humanitarian assistance to support the rollout of vaccination campaigns in countries in Africa with critical humanitarian needs and fragile health systems. This funding includes €2.8 million to support the vaccination campaign in Sudan.
The EU continues to promote compliance with international humanitarian law for unhindered and safe access for humanitarian aid and the protection of civilians.
Last updated: 24/05/2023
Facts & figures
11.7million people in acute food insecurity (IPC3+)
4.8million people are internally displaced (OCHA), including 1 million displaced since 15/04
Prior to the conflict:
- over 1.1 million refugees, including around 814,000 from South Sudan (UNHCR)
- over 3 million acutely malnourished children (UNICEF)
EU humanitarian funding:
€73.2million in 2023
Almost €600 million since 2013