Sudan is facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis because of poor harvests, skyrocketing prices, political instability and lack of financial support, U.N. agencies warn.
Nearly one-third of Sudan's roughly 45 million people do not have enough to eat. And the World Food Program, or WFP, warns the number of hungry people is likely to rise to 18 million by the end of the month if donors do not come up with the money to feed them.
WFP Sudan Representative and country director Eddie Rowe said Sudan imports about 80 percent of its wheat from Ukraine. He said the war in Ukraine has sent the price of food, fuel and other basic commodities soaring, and is making it more difficult to get the money needed for humanitarian operations.
Rowe said the WFP is broke and has been forced to cut food rations in half for 2.4 million beneficiaries in Sudan. This includes 600,000 refugees who are completely dependent on international aid.
"We are on the verge of suspending or halting critical other activities," he warned. "For example, we plan to reach 2 million students with school meals, and this seems to be a far-fetched reality given that we do not have funding."
UNICEF's representative in Sudan, Mandeep O'Brien, said Sudan is facing a malnutrition crisis as well as a hunger crisis.
"Three million children under 5 years of age are acutely malnourished in Sudan," O'Brien said. "As we speak today, 650,000 kids are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. If not treated, half of them will die."
She noted that tens of thousands of children have missed out on lifesaving vaccines because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 7 million children are out of school.
U.N. agencies warn the time to provide lifesaving assistance for 10.9 million of Sudan's most vulnerable people is fast running out. They note only 36 percent of the U.N.'s $1.9 billion Humanitarian Response Plan for this year is funded.