EU ministers discuss aid on 1st anniversary of war – DW – 04/15/2024

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Top diplomats from France, Germany, and the European Union have arrived in Paris to push for increased funding for Sudan on the first anniversary of the conflict.

French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne, German Foreign MinisterAnnalena Baerbock, top EU diplomat Josep Borrell, and the EU’s Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic were attending the meeting, along with representatives from Sudan’s civil society.

At the start of the conference, Baerbock announced a further €244 million ($260 million) in humanitarian aid for the country. “Together, we can manage to avoid a terrible hunger catastrophe prevent it, but only if we take action together now,” she said. 

The UN humanitarian campaign needs some $2.7 billion (€2.5 billion) this year to get food, health care and other supplies to 24 million people in Sudan. So far, funders have given only $145 million, about 5%, according to the UN’s humanitarian office, known as OCHA. 

The meeting in Paris aims to draw international attention and funds as the humanitarian crisis in the war-ravaged country deepens.

A ‘humanitarian disaster,’ UN says

According to the United Nations (UN), Sudan is experiencing “one of the worst humanitarian disasters in recent memory.”

There have been numerous reports of atrocities, including killings, war crimes, and rapes, particularly in the region around the capital and Darfur in the west.

The UN also called it “the largest internal displacement crisis in the world” as 8 million people have left their homes behind looking for safety. Plus,millions face high risks of starvation.

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A violent conflict that began a year ago 

In 2019, a popular uprising and a subsequent coup overthrew longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir and brought a civilian government to power in the northeast African country.

Two years later, the military, underGeneral Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and a paramilitary force, Rapid Support Forces (RSF), commanded by General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo led another coup that toppled the internationally recognized government.

The two generals, thereafter, started a bloody struggle for power last April on the streets of capital Khartoum which rapidly spread across the country.

This resulted in a humanitarian crisis that now threatens the future of the country, amid unabated violence.

‘A forgotten crisis,’ diplomats say

According to Christophe Lemoine, a spokesperson for the French foreign ministry, said that Monday’s meeting aims to bring the Sudan crisis “up to the top of the agenda.”

An estimated 1.8 million people have fled Sudan and 6.7 million have been internally displacedImage: Florian Gaertner/IMAGO

As Israel’s war against Hamas, which is designated a terrorist organization by the US and others, and Russia’s conflict in Ukraine continue to dominate headlines, the crisis in Sudan has had less attention. The UN estimated that at least 14,600 people have been killed. “We cannot let Sudan become a forgotten crisis,” Lemoine said.

Forgotten war: Stories of survival in Sudan

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 “The civilians here are enduring starvation, mass sexual violence, large-scale ethnic killing, and executions,” said Will Carter, Sudan country director for the Norwegian Refugee Council. “Millions more are displaced, and yet the world continues to look the other way.”

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A report by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) said about 5 million people were at the doorstep of famine, while 17.7 million people were facing acute food insecurity.

At the same time, only a small fraction of relief funds has been secured where billions are needed.

“Sudan is described as a forgotten crisis,” said Justin Brady, head of the UN humanitarian coordination office for Sudan. “I’m starting to wonder how many people knew about it in the first place to forget about it.”

Millions displaced in Sudan crisis

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ss/rm(AFP, AP) 

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