Sudan: Anticipatory Actions for Unrest, DREF No. MDRSD030 - Final Report



Description of the disaster

In December 2018, the economic crisis sparked protests, which led to the deposition of the former president in April 2019, Sudan’s Revolution of 2019 - New Politics. A Transitional Military Council (TMC) was established; however, this did not stop protests which continued, demanding the establishment of a civilian government, resulting in the formation of a Hybrid Sovereignty Council with Military and Civilian members as well as Transitional Government in September 2019. On 25 October 2021, the Sudanese Military Council, led by the General Commander-In-Chief of the Sudanese Armed Forces took control of the government in a military coup that caused popular resistance. In addition, the Transitional government was dissolved, a state of emergency was put in place, and a majority of the Hamdok Cabinet and several pro-government supporters were arrested. In addition, as of mid-September to the end of October 2021 demonstrators from the Beja tribe in Eastern Sudan had blocked highways leading to the rest of the country from Port Sudan and forced Red Sea ports to close, protesting the transitional government and poor economic conditions. Due to the closure of seaports and highways from Port Sudan to the rest of the country, the government warned that the country was running out of life-saving medicines, fuel, and wheat stocks because of the closure of the port and ongoing protests, which could cause further unrest.

Key civilian groups including the Sudanese Professionals Association and Forces of Freedom and Change called for civil disobedience and refusal to cooperate with the coup organizers. Protests started on 25 and 26 October against the coup and have since continued regularly. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Information, and the Prime Minister's Office refused to recognize the transfer of power, stating that the coup was a crime and disregarded the constitutional agreement and that Hamdok should remain as a prime minister.

On 26th October, the African Union suspended Sudan's membership, pending a return to power of the Hamdok government. On 27th October, the European Union, the United States, and other western powers stated that they continued to recognize the Hamdok cabinet as "the constitutional leaders of the transitional government" and insisted on their ambassadors having access to Hamdok. Faced with internal and international resistance, al-Burhan declared his willingness to restore the Hamdok Cabinet on 28 October, although the deposed Prime Minister declined this initial offer, making any further dialogue conditional on the full restoration of the pre-coup system.

On 21 November 2021, Hamdok and al-Burhan signed a 14-point deal that reinstated Hamdok as prime minister and stated that all political prisoners would be freed. Civilian groups including Forces for Freedom and Change and the Sudanese Professionals Association rejected the deal, refusing continued power-sharing with the military. Protests continued, with protestors chanting slogans, blocking roads, and burning tyres. There was civil disobedience, and schools, shops, and petrol stations were closed in Geneina. Protests outside of the capital took place in Omdurman, Atbara, Dongola, El-Obeid, Port Sudan, Gezira, and Red Sea State. Security forces used live fire while trying to remove protestors' roadblocks in Khartoum. Demonstrations became large in Khartoum in the evening in neighbourhoods and main streets.

The situation described above occurred as Sudan continues to deal with an economic crisis that has resulted in increasing inflation rates which have disproportionately affected the most vulnerable. Meanwhile, the Sudanese population is also managing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and needs generated by devastating flooding and the Tigray crisis in Ethiopia. The disruption caused by this political situation threatened to worsen the humanitarian situation.

Before the 25 October coup and in anticipation of heightened tensions which could have erupted into conflict, the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) through the IFRC Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF) launched a CHF 148,255 DREF Operation on 14 October to strengthen the readiness capacities of the Sudanese Red Crescent Society to anticipate, prepare and respond to humanitarian needs arising from unrest and conflicts through training of 200 volunteers as well as support prepositioning of first aid equipment in identified hotspots. This readiness support was to ensure that SRCS would be able to assist at least 10,000 people who were at risk of being affected by the civil unrest in 6 hotspot states. On 23 November 2021, an Operation Update was published to update stakeholders on the progress of the DREF operation, as well as to request an extension of the timeframe from 3 months to 4 months, ending on 28 February 2022 instead of the originally planned 28 January 2022 to accommodate the response phase of the operation based on needs identified and request for the second allocation of CHF 81,834 to support the response actions. The total reviewed budget increased to CHF 230,089. The focus of the DREF-funded operation was to ensure response capacity is in place to provide first aid, ambulances, evacuations, and health post services through prepositioning of the essential items and training of national and branch-level emergency response teams and volunteers.