Millions Displaced By War in Sudan: How To Help

This article is presented in partnership with Project HOPE

Project HOPE is a global health and humanitarian organization, working side-by-side with local health workers and communities to save lives and improve the health and well-being of people around the world.

Learn more about Project HOPE

A location pin points to Sudan on a map of Africa
This article is presented in partnership with Project HOPE

In April of this year, violent conflict struck Sudan. In the months to follow, violence between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces would lead to the loss of over a thousand lives, injure nearly 12,000, and displace millions of Sudanese people.

As a result, the country is on the brink of collapse.

We know that heartbreaking current events like conflict and war can be difficult to understand and pay attention to — and inadequate mainstream news coverage, or a lack of funding and resources — can make it even harder to know what’s going on.

This article aims to briefly explain the situation in Sudan and provide folks unaffected by this conflict with some action steps to help those in need. 

Because, at Good Good Good, if there’s one thing we know to be true, it’s this: There is always hope in the heartbreak

What’s going on in Sudan?

The conflict in Sudan is horrific — and some say the events unfolding today are reminiscent of the Darfur Genocide that started just 20 years ago

The abridged version goes like this: In the face of pro-democracy protests and the ousting of President Omar al-Bashir (who was in power for over 30 years), the leaders of the Sudanese Armed Forces (General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan) and the Rapid Support Forces (General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti) started on the same side.

Although plans were put in place to turn Sudan into a democracy, the two joined forces to stage a coup in 2021 and were briefly in power together, as Al-Burhan took control of the government and Hemedti remained in a powerful position.

However, a power struggle developed between them and led to a full-on war in April of 2023. 

Here are a few other key things to know when it comes to understanding the conflict in Sudan:

Ethnic conflict has reignited in Darfur.

In Darfur, ethnic conflicts have been reborn. The Janjaweed, a Sudanese Arab militia group responsible for the Darfur Genocide, rebranded as the Rapid Support Forces in 2013, and still led by Hemedti, continues to violently control socioeconomic relations in the area.

Local tribes estimate that over 5,000 have been killed in El Geneina, Darfur, according to a report from Al-Jazeera.

“The situation is catastrophic,” Maysoon Dahab, co-director of the Sudan Research Group at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, told Al-Jazeera. “This is, in essence, nothing short of a renewed genocidal campaign.”

Over 3 million people have already been displaced.

In recent reports, OCHA estimates that over 3 million people have been displaced due to this conflict, including 700,000 into neighboring countries like Egypt, Chad, Libya, South Sudan, and Ethiopia. 

Those fleeing Sudan are also in need of dire medical care and humanitarian assistance, and neighboring countries are not equipped to provide the attention and resources needed for a refugee crisis of this size. 

Additionally, millions are still trapped in Khartoum — the area where most of the fighting is concentrated.

To make matters worse, the area recently entered its rainy season, and flooding could pose even more serious threats to displaced communities — especially those living in shelters. Not to mention, a lack of clean water increases risks of infectious and waterborne diseases. 

Prior to this conflict, Sudan was already home to about 3.8 million internally displaced people — the majority of whom lived in Darfur. 

The healthcare system is being targeted.

Health facilities have been bombed, occupied, and looted across Sudan. 

The WHO has verified at least 46 attacks on health workers and facilities, and at least 21 health workers have been killed, including doctors, staff, and medical students. 

In addition to the loss of human life, this puts civilians at further risk, too, leading to widespread shortages of medicines and supplies. 

The United Nations estimates that about 67% of hospitals in the affected areas are closed, and 60% of health facilities across Sudan are non-functional. 

Humanitarian aid organizations are struggling to help.

The disbursement of humanitarian aid has also been disrupted by the war — and things are looking grim.

Right now, nearly 25 million people — more than half of the country’s population — are in need of urgent humanitarian aid, but on-the-ground responders lack secure access to supply routes, electricity, internet, and fuel. Reports suggest that militia groups are stealing and pillaging aid supplies, as well.

Prior to this conflict, Sudan was already in a dire humanitarian situation, and with increasing difficulty accessing entry points and vital supplies, medical intervention and other vital humanitarian resources have become even more limited. 

Women and children face extreme risk.

As Sudan nears full-scale civil war, women and children are increasingly targeted and are in urgent need of protection. 

According to UNICEF, over one million children have been displaced, 330 have been killed, and over 1,900 have been injured since April 15 of this year. Experts calculate more than 13 million children are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

Coalescing with the lack of health services and gender-based oppression, women also face a severe shortage of reproductive and maternal health services. This includes approximately 262,800 pregnant women and over 2.6 million women and girls of reproductive age

This is worsened by high instances of sexual and gender-based violence, as rape has long been used as a weapon of war in Sudan

Without access to emergency contraceptives, HIV medication, and life-saving reproductive care, more lives will be lost to needless — and heinous — violence. 

How to help Sudan:

This violent conflict in Sudan is horrific, and especially if you live in a different country or continent, it can be easy to feel helpless in the face of such unfathomable tragedy.

But we know better than that. 

No matter where you are in the world, you have a role to play — even if it’s a small one — in helping those most vulnerable to violent conflict in Sudan.

Here are a few ways we can all do our part:

Raise awareness.

Sudan has seen consistent news coverage as events unfold, but in order to mobilize action, there must be bigger conversations about this conflict on social media, in mainstream news, and within our own circles.

“Of course, there are competing crises across the world, but Sudan is once again being overlooked by the international community,” an aid worker told Context by Reuters. “We need funding, we need security, we need the international community to intervene so that we can secure some kind of peace.” 

One of the most impactful things you can do is to get people talking about what’s going on in Sudan, whether it’s chatting with a friend about current events, calling an elected official, sharing the news on social media, or — hey — even forwarding this article to someone who cares. 

Donate to humanitarian organizations.

As illustrated, humanitarian organizations need help to distribute vital resources and help people to safety. Without funding, these organizations cannot afford to send much-needed supplies and shipments into Sudan — or launch refugee responses in neighboring countries. 

Your donation — no matter how small — can impact someone receiving life-saving essentials and healthcare in these dire conditions.

Below are a few aid organizations working to support Sudan, but you can also find more reputable organizations via Charity Navigator

Project HOPE

Project HOPE is a global health and humanitarian organization that has been supporting Sudan since the conflict broke out

Working alongside local partner Nada Elazhar for Disaster Prevention and Sustainable Development (NADA), the nonprofit has provided vital training for healthcare workers, sexual and gender-based violence case management, mental health and psychosocial support, and PSAs and workshops on unexploded ordnance (explosive weapons and remnants of war). 

Project HOPE has also sent two Interagency Emergency Health Kits to the Khartoum area, which will serve the primary healthcare needs of 20,000 people for up to three months. A shipment of 36,000 bottles of antibiotics is also being prepped for delivery. 

Donate to Project HOPE

International Rescue Committee

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) works in over 40 countries to assist those impacted by the world’s worst humanitarian crises. In Sudan — and Chad — the organization has been working to distribute urgent essentials like food, clean water, sanitation facilities, and primary healthcare programs. 

The organization is also working to support Tigrayan refugees who are traveling into the area from Ethiopia

IRC has established a main office in Khartoum to serve ongoing needs; launched health, water, and sanitation services in Khartoum; opened a field office in Gedaref to support Tigrayan refugees in eastern Sudan; built and repaired health facilities providing reproductive and COVID-19 care; and more. 

Humanitarians are hoping to scale up these efforts and add new services, like increased support for women impacted by gender-based violence. 

Donate to the International Rescue Committee

Doctors Without Borders

Teams from Doctors Without Borders have been providing lifesaving care in health facilities struggling with overwhelming needs in both Khartoum and Darfur

This mainly includes treating war-wounded patients (especially children and older adults). Since early May, a surgical team has been working in Bashair Teaching Hospital in southern Khartoum, providing surgical care for hundreds of patients.

Meanwhile, in Darfur, Doctors Without Borders volunteers have been treating wounded people and providing emergency obstetric care, including over 600 surgical operations since April 15. 

The organization is also working to distribute essentials and provide care in refugee camps in the area.

Donate to Doctors Without Borders

CARE

Like many other humanitarian organizations, CARE had already been working in the area to support other displaced groups when conflict struck Sudan. 

CARE immediately increased its ongoing humanitarian response in several refugee camps, providing basic needs, like food, water, shelter, and sanitation facilities. 

These programs and relief services are currently concentrated in East Darfur, South Darfur, South Kordofan, Kassala, Khartoum, and neighboring Chad.

Donate to CARE

Advocate for Sudanese refugees. 

Although getting aid into Sudan is currently a logistical challenge, aid teams are supporting Sudanese people by providing relief to refugee response efforts in Chad and Egypt.

Nazik Salih is an information officer for Project HOPE, working in Poland — though she grew up in Sudan. She said aid workers have been trying to draw comparisons to how the world approached the war in Ukraine.

“Within 72 hours of the [Ukraine] war breaking out,aid organizations and donations overwhelmed the border between Ukraine and Poland,” Salih told Good Good Good in an email. “Poland, Romania, and other countries welcomed refugees with open arms and it was the main conversation in mainstream media.”

“The war in Sudan has been ongoing since April, and people have been stuck in border towns for months waiting for visas with next to no resources.”

Of course, financially supporting aid organizations is a great way to speed these processes along, but it’s also important to urge elected officials about the responsibility they have to the global community. 

You can also engage with local refugee organizations to best learn how to support the people who may already be in your community or are connected to those seeking asylum from Sudan.

“With more than 3 million people fleeing their homes in just three months, this is among the worst displacement crises of the 21st century,” Elsadig Elnour, the county director for Islamic Relief in Sudan, said in a statement

“The situation is more urgent than ever, and we pray the international community doesn’t forget about us.” 

Stay up-to-date with the news.

As difficult as it can be, staying up-to-date with the latest happenings in Sudan will make you a much more well-equipped and action-minded global advocate.

Major news outlets are indeed covering Sudan, but it’s up to us to keep these stories relevant to our social media timelines, immediate circles, and passionate community organizers.

If you’re looking for some helpful media to learn more about the war in Sudan or to share with someone who might not be familiar with the crisis, consider the following:

Article Details

July 17, 2023 3:15 PM
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