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24.05.2024 | Blog

Sudan: Witness to the Forgotten War

War has been raging in Sudan for over a year. Millions are on the run – including one of our employees* and his family. A personal report from Darfur.

Child standing in front of a house in Sudan after the outbreak of war, smoke rising.
Since the outbreak of fighting in April 2023, the number of deaths and injuries in Sudan has been rising steadily. Over nine million people are on the run in their own country. © Welthungerhilfe

Since the outbreak of the war on April 15, 2023, my family’s life has drastically changed. We come from Al-Fashir, the capital of North Darfur. Today, it is a battlefield: one part is controlled by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), the other by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

During the fighting, we were caught in the crossfire. Artillery, grenades, and machine guns fired over our heads. Our children hid in panic, crying under the beds. We had never experienced such fear. In search of a safe place, we constantly changed our shelter. Then, after a few months, when the airstrikes began, everything around us was destroyed and many people were killed – flesh and bones mixed with the earth.

Context: War in Sudan

Since the outbreak of fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary troops of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in April 2023, the number of casualties has risen steadily. In Khartoum and many other areas of the country, the economy has largely collapsed and people desperately need food, water, medicine and basic necessities. Over nine million people are on the run in their own country. Others seek refuge in neighboring countries such as the Central African Republic, Ethiopia or South Sudan.

On the run in our own country

With heavy hearts, we had to leave our home. So we fled to Malit, about 70 kilometers north of Al-Fashir, hoping to find a safe place there. SAF allies controlled the town; initially, there were no fights, but after just a few weeks, the RSF captured Malit. Several civilians were killed that night. We were lucky to evade the gunfire, but how long will that luck keep us alive?

In Malit, our seven-member family lives in a house with two rooms. The conflict has destroyed the infrastructure, water sources are contaminated, there is hardly any access to medical care, and the education system is paralyzed. My eldest son and daughter cannot continue their studies. He threatens to either become a soldier or flee across the Mediterranean. She is terrified to leave the house.

We do not know what happened to our house in Al-Fashir, whether it was destroyed or looted. We cannot go back there. And Malit is becoming increasingly dangerous. Fighter jets attack the outskirts of the town. We count the minutes until the attacks are over. We are trapped here; there is no way out, no safe place of refuge.

Welthungerhilfe remains active in Sudan despite the war

I have been working for Welthungerhilfe (WHH) for three years and am currently able to continue my service in an office in Malit.

The ongoing conflict in Sudan deepens the humanitarian crisis, forcing millions to abandon their homes and face hunger.

However, our work is difficult in such an uncertain and unstable environment. We must coordinate with all the fighting parties, frequently identify ourselves, and remain calm, discreet, and impartial at checkpoints. A single mistake can lead to arrest.

Despite the very challenging circumstances, we provide humanitarian aid for internally displaced persons in the areas of water supply, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). We also distribute food, support farmers with agricultural inputs, and offer vaccinations and counseling services.

Sudan: An SOS from the Forgotten War

This conflict receives far too little international attention. The suffering of the Sudanese population is immense. I want to take this opportunity to draw attention to this forgotten war and the suffering of the Sudanese people. This destructive conflict in Sudan must end.

We want peace. We need a safe place where we can live without fear and in dignity, where our children can receive an education and have a future. Please, save our souls!

*to protect our employee, this article has been anonymized.

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