Sudan 2024 – The World’s Largest Internal Displacement Crisis

Rachel Hirons, Country Director, Medair Sudan

“On 15th April 2023, civil war broke out in Sudan between two rival factions of the military government of Sudan, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Sudan is a culturally complex country, with its African and Arabic communities overlaid by a tribal structure, all co-existing in the same territory. There have been clashes over many generations and tensions never fully evaporate, so it’s not uncommon for conflict to evolve and social cohesion to disappear.

In recent months, the RSF has advanced on a number of major cities, driving significant displacement of people. The population of Khartoum stood at around six million people a year ago, but today is closer to 1 million. The UN reports that 12,000 civilians had been killed by the end of 2023 (although the actual death toll is believed to be much higher) and that nearly half of Sudan’s 49 million people require humanitarian aid. The fighting continues and it’s a tough place to survive.

With 25 million people in need and around 9 million now displaced, Sudan is home to the world’s largest internal displacement crisis.

It has been a real challenge for Medair to keep our humanitarian programming going over the past year, for obvious reasons. Many of our national team have lost family members either directly to the conflict or as a result of not being able to access medical care, so they are processing significant trauma and grief at the same time as serving people in great need. Most NGOs (including Medair) have been looted too, losing quite literally everything – vehicles, computers, medical equipment and provisions.

Despite the security issues, bureaucratic challenges and difficulties associated with accessing places where needs are high, Medair continues to make a positive impact, including:

Blue Nile – Health and nutrition, with a particular focus on pregnant / breastfeeding women and children
Blue Nile – Setting up a ‘Stabilisation Centre’ for malnourished children
White Nile – Responding to the cholera outbreak, distribution of cash and essential non-food items.
Khartoum – Distribution of essential non-food items.

It’s worth mentioning that the conflict is not the only life-threatening development in Sudan right now. We are seeing outbreaks of diseases such as dengue fever, malaria and cholera, while the country’s agricultural output has been severely hampered by farmers’ inability to plant seeds due to the fighting. With no impending harvest of note, the situation is grim and famine looms large. You will undoubtedly hear about famine in Sudan in the next few months.

There are more recent developments that are making the situation even more difficult. The border to Chad was closed last month, cutting off the primary route through which all aid to Darfur was flowing.

At a time when many agencies are pulling back, Medair is trying to scale-up. Our in-country team is incredibly courageous, finding ways of distributing emergency Non Food Items (NFIs), cash and Gifts In Kind (GIKs) to over 2,000 families so far, sometimes under fire. It is truly inspiring to see their bravery and dedication.

With the help of our generous supporters, Medair persists through security threats, upheaval and atrocities being committed, while the world looks the other way.

The people of Sudan are incredibly resilient … but they shouldn’t have to be.”

Napita told us:

I saw many bad things. I had to stay inside. I could not eat. There were gunshots everywhere. Night and day, guns were shooting nonstop.

Poni told us:

The situation was horrible. I saw death; people were dying in the streets. One of my neighbours was shot and died in front of my eyes.

Adau told us:

I have six children. The fighting started close to where we lived and developed across the city. There was no food for us to buy and no water. We had to leave.

Sudan 2024. 9 million people forced to flee. The world’s largest internal displacement crisis.

The people of Sudan are incredibly resilient, but they shouldn’t have to be.

If you would like to be connected with our colleagues working in Sudan – or if you would like to use our original images to bring your story to life (please publish ‘c.Medair’) – please don’t hesitate to contact us.

About Medair

We are a humanitarian aid charity who since 1989 has been responding to urgent health crises around the world, saving lives and relieving human suffering in some of the world’s most remote and devastated places.

Today we have over 1,500 employees worldwide, who are all humanitarian experts. Since our creation, we have helped more than 50 million people in 40 countries.

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We can instantly provide expert spokespeople on the front line in a range of humanitarian crises and conflict zones, adding unique insights and colour to your stories and reports.

We have experts in-country today who can bring eye-witness accounts and first-person perspectives to your story in: Afghanistan, Chad, DR Congo, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Madagascar, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Türkiye, Ukraine and Yemen.

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