Widespread flooding resulting from heavy rainfall since mid-July had resulted in the deaths of more than 120 people, adversely affected more than 830,000 people, and destroyed or damaged 166,000 houses across Sudan as of September 24.
Food assistance needs in Sudan are expected to remain atypically high through at least January 2021 due to multiple factors, including the ongoing macroeconomic crisis, elevated food prices, the impact of COVID-19 mitigation measures on livelihoods, and flooding.
The GoS and partners have initiated a poliovirus immunization campaign, following the August 8 declaration of Sudan’s first polio outbreak in more than a decade.
Widespread Flooding Exacerbates Humanitarian Needs Across Sudan
Above-average rainfall and resultant flooding since mid-July had resulted in more than 120 deaths, adversely affected nearly 830,000 people, including approximately 125,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, and damaged or destroyed nearly 166,000 houses across Sudan as of September 24, according the Government of Sudan (GoS) Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC). The flooding—the worst in Sudan in more than 100 years—has damaged critical infrastructure countrywide, including more than 3,400 health facilities, 15,900 latrines, 420 schools, and 360 shops and warehouses. Standing water and flood-related damage to health facilities has increased vector- and waterborne disease risks for flood-affected populations, while simultaneously hampering efforts to contain ongoing outbreaks of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and polio. Populations in Blue Nile, Khartoum, North Darfur, West Darfur, and Sennar states are among the most heavily affected, accounting for 54 percent of the floodaffected population countrywide, as of late September. In response to the flooding, the GoS activated a Flood Task Force in July to support the coordination of relief efforts, and declared a nationwide State of Emergency on September 4 to mobilize additional flood-response resources. Further, the GoS Ministry of Social Development and Labor activated a Flood Emergency Operations Center on September 20 to coordinate flood-response communications, logistics, operations, and planning for five weeks.
Relief supplies that humanitarian actors had pre-positioned in Sudan ahead of the rainy season to support up to 250,000 people in the event of flooding were largely depleted as of late September, according to the UN. To support ongoing flood response efforts, USAID/BHA, in coordination with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), airlifted more than 155 metric tons (MT) of critical relief supplies—including blankets, water containers, and plastic sheeting sufficient to provide emergency shelter for 75,000 people—to the capital city of Khartoum between September 19 and 21. The UN and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had reached more than 400,000 flood-affected people with water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) support as of September 27, according to the UN. As of midSeptember, USAID/BHA partner the UN World Food Program (WFP) had reached more than 46,000 flood-affected individuals with emergency food assistance in Sudan. Relief actors have also provided shelter and non-food items to approximately 150,000 people, as well as health services to more than 200,000 people.
Food Assistance Needs to Remain High Through at Least January 2021
Food assistance needs in Sudan are expected to remain atypically high through at least January 2021, driven by high staple food prices, an ongoing macroeconomic crisis, continued flooding, and the impact of COVID19 containment measures on household access to markets and livelihoods options, according to recent food security analyses. An estimated 9.6 million people in Sudan were experiencing Crisis—IPC 3—or worse levels of acute food insecurity between June and September, according to a July IPC analysis, the highest food-insecure population estimate in Sudan since IPC analyses began in the country in 2007.
Staple food prices in Sudan have more than doubled since September 2019, and prices are now more than five times greater than the five-year average, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). Meanwhile, the Sudanese pound (SDG) continues to depreciate—reaching a rate of 270 SDG per U.S. dollar (USD) in mid-September compared to 170 SDG per USD in June—while inflation reached nearly 167 percent in August, up from approximately 144 percent in July, further eroding household purchasing power. Heavy rainfall and flooding had inundated approximately 5.5 million acres of agricultural land and led to more than 108,000 livestock deaths as of September, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, further limiting access to food and income for affected households. Although the recent easing of some COVID-19-related movement restrictions will likely improve access to income-earning opportunities and food for some poor urban households, other related restrictions—including limited availability of public transportation and ongoing curfews—will continue to adversely impact livelihoods.
GoS Eases COVID-19 Movement Restrictions; Vulnerabilities Remain
The GoS began to ease some COVID-19-related movement restrictions in August amidst declining weekly COVID-19 caseloads, and had lifted the curfew in Khartoum, authorized resumption of interstate travel, and reopened government offices with limited staffing as of mid-September. Additionally, Khartoum International Airport had resumed domestic and international flights as of August 14. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) had confirmed more than 13,600 cases of COVID-19, including 836 related deaths, in Sudan as of September 30; however, the scale of the outbreak is likely much higher due to limited testing capacity in the country. Health actors have noted the likelihood of undetected cases and remain concerned regarding community spread of the disease, particularly in states exhibiting high case fatality rates. Although 70 percent of confirmed cases are in Khartoum, more than 60 percent of COVID-19-related deaths have occurred outside of the state, the UN reports. In addition, more than 80 percent of Sudan’s population does not have access to a working health center within two hours of their home, and health clinic closures during the outbreak have further limited access to health care and placed additional stress on the already weak health system.
Polio Immunization Campaign to Reach 8.6 Million Amidst Outbreak
Between early March and September 21, the GoS Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) confirmed 23 cases of vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2)—a strain mutated from the weakened virus contained in oral polio vaccine (OPV) that can occur in under-immunized populations—in 11 states across the country. The FMoH declared a national public health emergency on August 8, and in response, health actors launched an accelerated, routine immunization campaign on August 26, utilizing the inactivated poliovirus vaccination. Additionally, the FMoH—with support from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and WHO—plans to reach approximately 8.6 million children with a national supplementary immunization campaign utilizing the OPV, scheduled to begin on October 4. The FMoH has also bolstered national cVDPV2 surveillance efforts and coordinated with neighboring countries to strengthen the regional cVDPV2 response in recent weeks. However, the widespread flooding in Sudan has challenged current surveillance efforts and increased the risk of cVDPV2 transmission.
Insecurity Increases Assistance Needs in Darfur, Kassala, and Red Sea
Ongoing insecurity incidents in Kassala and Red Sea states, as well as across Darfur, have resulted in deaths, prompted displacement, and generated humanitarian needs for affected populations. Jebel Marra—a mountainous region comprising parts of Central Darfur, North Darfur, and South Darfur states—experienced 48 armed clashes from June to September, according to the African Union–UN Hybrid Mission in Darfur. Intercommunal clashes in July displaced 13,300 people in South Darfur’s Kass locality, as well nearly 13,000 people in West Darfur in August, according to IOM. In Port Sudan city and other localities of Red Sea, intercommunal violence resulted in at least 32 deaths and 90 injuries between August 9 and August 13, according to the UN, while the Kassala State Government declared a State of Emergency—including movement restrictions that inhibited humanitarian access—from August 26 to 28 following intercommunal clashes on July 22. Populations displaced by violence require shelter, protection, and WASH support, while insecurity and related prevention measures have limited the movements of humanitarian actors, disrupting the overall humanitarian response.
GoS Reaches Peace Deal With Armed Groups After Months of Negotiations
The GoS signed a peace agreement with the Sudan Revolutionary Front—a coalition of non-state armed groups, including the Justice and Equality Movement, Sudan Liberation Army -Minni Minnawi, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N)’s Malik Agar faction—in Juba, South Sudan, on August 31, following 10 months of negotiations. The peace agreement seeks to end 17 years of conflict in Darfur and southern regions of South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, and addresses issues related to land ownership, power sharing, security, and transitional justice. The Sudan Liberation Movement and the SPLM-N’s Al Hilu faction did not participate in the peace process. However, SPLM-N’s Al Hilu faction and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdock reached a separate, preliminary agreement in Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa on September 3.