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Sudan is close to famine, warns Concern

Press release21 August 2023
A member of the Concern team distributing essential household items to people arriving from Sudan at Zabout, Chad.
Concern is distributing essential household items to people arriving from Sudan at Zabout, Chad. Photo: Audrey Hernandez/Concern Worldwide

Time is running out to prevent famine after four months of conflict in Sudan, Concern Worldwide has warned.

The hunger-focussed Irish humanitarian organisation is deeply concerned that almost 6.3 million people are in areas of Sudan that are one-step away from an official famine classification.

“We must do everything we can to prevent famine and people suffering and dying from hunger,” said Concern’s Regional Director for the Horn of Africa, Amina Abdulla.

“The levels of hunger in the country are deeply concerning and if humanitarian access doesn’t improve the outcomes will be catastrophic.”

The UN-led organisation that issues famine warnings (the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, known as the IPC) said Sudan’s conflict and economic decline have driven about 20.3 million people (over 42 per cent of its population) into high levels of acute food insecurity.

Hunger levels

It said that 14 million of those people are living in IPC Phase 3 (two steps from famine) and 6.3 million people (13 per cent of the population) are experiencing worse conditions in IPC Phase 4, which is considered an emergency and one level below famine.

Food prices have also soared, food production has been dramatically reduced, humanitarian aid access is limited and it is forecast that rainfall will be below average this year, which will further impact crops, livestock and the availability of water.

“We continue to face challenges in the movement of goods and staff into and across the country,” added Amina Abdulla.

“It is only a matter of time before we run out of supplies in the various health facilities that we support and services come to a halt despite the ever increasing levels of needs across the country.”

Over one million people have fled Sudan to neighbouring countries since the conflict began on April 15, according to the UN.

Women and children

Over 366,430 of those refugees arrived in Eastern Chad where aid organisations like Concern are trying to provide the much needed support. Most of them are women and children arriving with few items and very traumatised.

Despite the conflict, Concern continues to deliver humanitarian assistance in Sudan, centred mostly around the provision of health and nutrition services. 

More funding for urgent humanitarian support is needed to save lives and prevent further escalation of this emergency, Concern said.

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For media queries or interview requests, please contact Kevin Jenkinson at or on 086 358 2886.

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