The humanitarian context in Sudan in 2016, especially during the first half of the year, saw a major increase in the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance. Significant new internal displacement occurred from Darfur’s Jebel Marra area due to conflict, there was an increase in the number of food insecure people as a result of poor harvests related to the El Niño phenomenon and a refugee influx from South Sudan continued throughout 2016.
By early 2016, some 4.6 million food insecure people in Sudan were in need of assistance and it was anticipated that El Niño meteorological events could push an additional 1.2 million people into food insecurity, bringing the total number of people in need of food and agriculture assistance to 5.8 million people, according to the 2016 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO).
In 2016, approximately 158,600 people were newly displaced across Darfur, according to the UN and partners. Up to an additional 6,000 people were also reportedly displaced (in addition to about 122,600 who have reportedly returned after being displaced during the year) but the UN and partners have been unable to verify these figures due to a lack of access to the relevant locations.
The vast majority of the displacement in 2016 was triggered by the conflict in the Jebel Marra. This has brought the number of IDPs in need of humanitarian assistance to 2.3 million people across Sudan, according to 2017 HNO.
The influx of refugees from South Sudan to Sudan continued during 2016, as 134,000 people fleeing conflict and food insecurity in South Sudan sought shelter and assistance in various parts of Sudan, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). By the end of 2016, there were about 300,000 South Sudanese refugees in Sudan who arrived after December 2013. The number of refugee arrivals from South Sudan in 2016 was the highest in any given year since conflict broke out in December 2013, and accounted for almost half of the total number of refugees who arrived since December 2013.
The second half of 2016 witnessed low levels of internal civilian displacement, as a result of unilateral cessation of hostilities by the Sudanese Armed Forces in Darfur and in Blue Nile and South and West Kordofan, and by armed groups in the same areas.
Towards the end of 2016, the Government issued amended Directives regulating humanitarian work in Sudan, which are expected to facilitate the access and delivery of humanitarian assistance to a number of areas that were previously inaccessible to humanitarian organisations.
In 2016, donor contributions amounted to about $567 million for Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) activities (58 per cent of the overall requested amount) and an additional $81 million for humanitarian assistance outside of the HRP. Despite decreasing humanitarian funding since 2011, humanitarian partners in 2016 provided assistance to over 3.9 million people across Sudan, including 2.4 million IDPs in Darfur.
Meanwhile, by the end of 2016, the overall number of people in need of humanitarian assistance had decreased by about 1 million people and was estimated at about 4.8 million people. This came after the El Niño event dissipated towards the second half of 2016 and turned into La Niña, with average and above-average rainfall across many parts of Sudan which resulted in harvests above the five-year average in most parts of Sudan.
There are about 7,900 aid workers in 186 national and international humanitarian organisations in Sudan. This includes 4,200 aid personnel in Darfur, which constitutes a significant reduction from over 17,000 staff in Darfur prior to 2009.
Against this backdrop of decreasing humanitarian funding and decreasing presence of humanitarian staff, increased advocacy and outreach to existing and new donors is needed, especially on funding the activities within the humanitarian-development nexus.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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