This is a summary of remarks by WFP Sudan Representative and Country Director, Eddie Rowe- to whom quoted text may be attributed – at a press briefing, today, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
GENEVA: Sudan is facing a deepening hunger crisis as climate shocks, protracted conflict and skyrocketing food prices leave families struggling to access and afford basic food commodities. At least 15 million people, or one-third of the population, are facing hunger in Sudan, according to WFP’s latest Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment. This is a 50 percent increase compared to last year. Earlier this year, WFP warned that up to 18 million people could face food insecurity by September and there are assessments ongoing to confirm whether our worst fears have come true.
Sudan has been hit by heavy rains and floods since August that are disrupting the planting season and will affect output. Nearly 5,000 hectares of land have already been damaged or destroyed. Meanwhile, insecurity continues to restrict people’s access to farmlands in the Darfurs. We had the opportunity to visit people in the IDP camps in Darfur recently. Time and again, concerns over safety, security, and their ability to access their land to cultivate were the issues they raised. As we enter the planting season in Sudan, WFP is very worried about the impact that the ongoing conflict and climate shocks will have on the next harvest. The last harvest was already very poor, with the cereal production 30 percent lower than the last five-year average.
The unfolding global food crisis has also pushed the prices of staples out of reach of many in Sudan with the cost of a basic food basket up by 137 percent year on year. Almost every family is spending more than two-thirds of their income on food alone, which leaves little money to cover other needs.
Concerted action is required to prevent people from slipping further into hunger.
WFP works in Sudan on two fronts: saving lives that are at immediate risk of starvation, while building the foundation for communities to meet their own food needs. In the face of unprecedented needs and an uncertain funding outlook, WFP is focusing on longer-term programmes to build communities’ resilience and self-reliance.
To date, during 2022 WFP has supported nearly 5 million people across Sudan, including 2.4 million people with food assistance, nearly 1.3 million young children and mothers with nutrition supplements to treat and prevent malnutrition and 1.8 million school-aged children with school meals or take-home rations. We are also helping to boost productive safety nets and supporting farmers to reduce crop losses after harvest.
The resources we have now are not sufficient.
WFP is aiming to reach 10 million people in 2022 with food assistance and resilience programmes, but the uncertain funding outlook could hamper our ability to reach that target.
In July, WFP had to cut rations in half for refugees meaning that the people we assist only receive 1,000 calories per day, rather than the full 2,200 calories. The IDPs supported by WFP are also only receiving half rations. These are heart-wrenching decisions and without additional funding, other programmes are also at risk of being put on hold or stopped completely.
Our nutrition activities that treat and prevent moderate acute malnutrition for pregnant and nursing women and children under five are only 50 percent funded for the year. Without additional resources, our school meals programme, which provides lunch for children at school, will have to be completely halted by January 2023. School-based programmes provide families with a strong incentive to send their children to school, so the loss of the programme will also impact education opportunities for Sudan’s youngest generation.
WFP urgently needs US $201 million over the next six months to maintain this lifeline for people who desperately need it. The time to act for the people of Sudan, to prevent the situation from getting even worse is NOW.