Three Quarters of a Million People in Sudan Are Facing Starvation

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Three Quarters of a Million People in Sudan Are Facing Starvation

The eyes of the Western world are largely fixed on Gaza right now, as American bombs dropped by America’s chief client state are authoring one of the world’s most horrific humanitarian catastrophes, but it is not the only tragedy currently threatening the lives of over a million people.

Sudan has been mired in yet another civil war since April 2023 after fighting broke out in its capital of Khartoum, and it has thrown millions of people’s lives into chaos. The United Nations migration agency said this week that the number of internally displaced people in Sudan due to both current and past conflicts is over ten million. This is the largest displacement crisis in the world.

As Jen Kirby excellently detailed for Splinter a couple months ago about the conflict the world forgot, there is no easy way out of this crisis in Sudan.

This fight may be framed as a battle between two generals, but Sudan has many, many militias and rebel groups, and the longer the fighting continues, the more fragmented and chaotic it risks becoming. Sudan’s humanitarian catastrophe will only deepen, and is echoing the atrocities of the past in places like Darfur. No easy answers exist, but the lesson the world should have learned by now is that it can only ignore a crisis or conflict until it explodes into something it can’t manage anymore. Sudan is not exempt.

The U.N. analysis was completed by the Rome-based Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), which is comprised of U.N. groups. The findings are preliminary but they depict a rapidly deteriorating situation in Sudan. The IPC classifies food insecurity along five phases. Phase 1 means there are no serious food issues, while Phase 5 means that famine is so severe that over two people out of 10,000 are dying every day. Phases 3 through 5 are all considered crisis situations.

The UN estimates 25.6 million people, or 54% of Sudan’s population, face critical shortages while nine million people find themselves in a crisis situation or worse. The IPC assessment concludes that 756,000 people will face Phase 5 catastrophe between the summer months of June and September.

The U.N. previously warned that nearly five million people in Sudan could face “catastrophic” hunger this year, while 730,000 children were believed to suffer from “severe” malnutrition. There has been no development since to suggest that those figures have improved, and this latest estimate from the IPC indicates that the crisis is deepening.

Sudan is a popular talking point for people who don’t care about Sudan or Gaza, as they like to charge lefties who have recoiled in horror over Joe Biden’s backing of Israel’s genocide with not caring enough about Sudan. It’s entirely logical for Americans to place more emphasis on Gaza than Sudan by the pure fact that our government has a lot more say about what happens in Gaza. Sudan is much less under the United States’ imperial control, and our government’s power to ameliorate the suffering lies largely with providing humanitarian assistance, not stopping the fighting in the first place.

Past presidents have used American power to restrict Israeli offensives, and the frustration exhibited by the left lies in President Joe Biden’s inability to meet the bar set by presidents like Ronald Reagan. There is no imperial lever like this in Sudan. We are not their chief weapons salesman, and the militant groups tearing the country apart are not beholden to the U.S. the way the Israeli government is. The relative inability of the West to control this situation has a large hand in how its citizens react. There is no concrete accomplishable ask in Sudan the way there is in Gaza of “stop the bombing.”

That said, Sudan should occupy a larger spot in our collective consciousness than it currently does. Should this famine the U.N. is extremely concerned about materialize, it will surely become a larger issue in the news as the death toll rises to apocalyptic levels. While we here in the United States cannot do much to stop the fighting, we can step up our humanitarian support to Sudan, which is of urgent and vital importance.

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