Inter-tribal conflict in West Darfur during the last days of 2019 displaced around 40,000 people into El-Geneina town. UNICEF mobilized an intersectoral response that included emergency latrines, education supplies for 3,250 children, safe access to water for 31,000 people, 760 baby blankets, measles immunization for 1,298 babies, four temporary primary health centres, training for 70 government staff on running Child-Friendly Spaces and providing psychosocial support to IDP children.
COVID-19 arose as an imminent humanitarian threat to Sudan. During February and March, UNICEF determined and initiated its response, aligned into the Transitional Government and wider UN response strategy. UNICEF has taken the national lead on Risk Communication and Community Education, country level coordination, provision of WASH services to critical facilities, and provision of Personal Protective Equipment.
UNICEF provided support through NCCW to reunify 2000 Khartoum based Khalwa students with their families in other states following the implementation of COVID-19 movement restrictions.
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
5.39 million children among
9.3 million people who need Humanitarian Assistance (Source: Sudan Humanitarian Needs Overview 20201 )
1 million children among
1.8 million internally displaced (Source: Sudan Humanitarian Needs Overview 2020)
425,600 children among
818,462 South Sudanese refugees
UNICEF Appeal 2020
US$ 147.11 million
Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
Sudan has experienced two major humanitarian developments in the first quarter of 2020, the appearance of the COVID-19 pandemic and the response to the El Geneina, West Darfur, inter-communal violence and the preparation.
In February, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and partners developed a national preparedness and operational readiness plan for Novel Coronavirus and based on this, prevention and control measures were initiated. On 13 March, Sudan announced the first confirmed case of COVID-2019, a middle-aged man who had travelled from the United Arab Emirates. For the remainder of the quarter, heavy emphasis was placed on prevention of an outbreak, including strengthening border controls. Air travel was restricted on 17 March but significant gaps in health care facilities, testing kits and protective equipment remained, contributing to serious concern going into the second quarter of 2020.
It is likely that response and protection measures against COVID-19 will have significant impact on UNICEF’s activities over the rest of the year. This includes issues such as postponement of non-lifesaving activities (Community Led Total Sanitation), the closure of schools, incorporating physical distancing into psychosocial support mechanisms and health services. UNICEF Sudan is ensuring that lifesaving interventions continue to reach vulnerable children and their communities, developing and incorporating COVID-19 responsible approaches and when necessary taking steps to expediate postponed activities when they are safe to implement. In collaboration with the Ministry of Social Development and Labour, a cash based social welfare programme is being established, seeding US$2 million directly into vulnerable households across the country, alleviating financial pressure on families and stimulating local economies. Links to UNICEF’s Global COVID-19 Appeal, the MENA Region (Including Sudan’s update) and global sitreps are footnoted4 and links to UNICEF response content can be found under the Communication and Advocacy section.
In the last days of 2019, 40,000 people in West Darfur were displaced following communal violence between Arab and Masalit tribes that killed at least 54 people including 11 children. Around 32,000 people took refuge in El Geneina and other fled to neighbouring Central African Republic, including internally displaced persons (IDPs) from three IDP camps near El Geneina town. In addition, thousands of people have crossed the border into Chad, seeking refuge in villages near the border. Two interagency missions were conducted to assess the urgent needs, response plans were developed, and emergency services were delivered, including non-food items (NFIs), health and nutrition, shelter, water, food and sanitation services.
Political efforts continue to establish sustainable peace in Sudan. In January 2020, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok visited the town of Kauda in the SPLM-N held Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan. He was the first senior Khartoum official to travel there since clashes resumed in the area in 2011.
In February, peace talks on the Darfur and East Sudan tracks resumed in Juba, South Sudan, and technical committees regarding the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains tracks were formed. The negotiations had been postponed for a week following the sudden death of the Sudanese Defence Minister, Jamal Omer on 25 February as he was the head of the government negotiating team for security arrangements. Two factions of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) led by Mansour Arbab now called "New JEM" and another faction of JEM led by Abdallah Banda requested to join the Juba talks.
An international delegation, formed by the Troika (the UK, Norway, and the USA), the European Union and Germany, has proposed the formation of a transitional, cooperative legislative council, inclusive of the armed movements and the Sudanese Government. to regarding the peace agreement. The proposition suggests that given the Government delegation and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance agreed on most issues, should both parties sign a peace agreement on May 9, the cooperative legislative council can be used to iron-out outstanding issues. The parties already agree that Darfur will be reunited into a single province and will be free to use its resources and funds without interference from Khartoum. The two parties agreed on the distribution of resources, the expenditure of services, and a fund to support sustainable development in Darfur. Some outstanding issues include the size of financial obligations to be paid by the government to special commissions, and the proportion of revenue the Darfur province will receive from its resources such as oil, gold.
In another development, the SPLM-N faction led by Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu accused the Sudanese government of supporting the Malik Agar led faction of the SPLM-N by allocating them areas to establish military camps in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.
The Malik Agar faction had earlier signed a peace agreement with the Government of Sudan.
Sudan launched the Humanitarian Needs Overview stipulating the urgent needs of 9.3 million Sudanese. The state of food insecurity and malnutrition at household level is of serious concern with approximately 6.2 million people in need of food assistance.
Staple food prices continue to increase across Sudan, with some prices in February 2020 doubling those in February 2019 according to the Sudan Price Bulletin from FEWS NET. The annual inflation rate hit 81.64% in March, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.
The United States has removed Sudan from the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) on Religious Freedom, 20 years after its designation. The removal of Sudan from its list of nations that severely violate religious freedoms, signals an increased support for the civilian-led transitional government.