UN Agency Reports Closure of Vital Aid Corridor into Sudan’s Darfur Due to Violence

UN Agency Reports Closure of Vital Aid Corridor into Sudan's
FILE PHOTO: Sudanese refugees who fled the violence in Sudan's Darfur region and newly arrived ride their donkeys looking for space to temporarily settle, near the border between Sudan and Chad in Goungour, Chad May 8, 2023. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra/File Photo

UN Agency Reports Closure of Vital Aid Corridor into Sudan’s Darfur Due to Violence

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has issued a grave warning regarding the escalating violence in and around the city of al-Fashir in Darfur, Sudan. This violence has obstructed a crucial humanitarian corridor recently opened from Chad, raising urgent concerns about the looming threat of starvation in the vast region.

Al-Fashir, serving as the last stronghold of the Sudanese army in Darfur and home to approximately 1.6 million residents, has witnessed intensified attacks, prompting alarming forecasts of mass displacement and inter-communal conflict within Sudan’s year-long war. The ongoing conflict between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has exacerbated food insecurity, pushing some individuals to resort to desperate measures such as consuming soil or leaves as famine looms.

Humanitarian efforts have been severely hindered by both sides of the conflict, with reports of looting aid supplies and obstructing their delivery to areas grappling with starvation, exacerbating an already dire humanitarian crisis. Aid convoys from Chad have been halted due to the violence, while restrictions imposed by authorities aligned with the Sudanese army have impeded assistance deliveries through the only other available aid corridor from Chad at Adre.

Despite being the sole army-approved route for aid shipments to other parts of Darfur, al-Fashir has only received limited aid throughout the war. Recent satellite imagery analysis conducted by the Yale Humanitarian Research Lab has revealed extensive destruction, with 23 villages near al-Fashir razed since the end of March, potentially by the RSF. Additionally, over 600 buildings within the city have been damaged by burning, including areas reportedly subjected to army bombardments.

The study also indicates ongoing investigations into whether the RSF was responsible for widespread damage inflicted on a particular area on April 28-29. Meanwhile, in the Zamzam refugee camp in North Darfur, where official food distributions ceased in May 2023, a staggering 30% of at least 46,000 children are suffering from acute malnutrition, signaling a deepening crisis.

Medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has criticized the UN’s insufficient response despite escalating famine alerts, emphasizing the urgent need for proactive measures to avert further deterioration in the malnutrition crisis in Zamzam and beyond.

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