Man-made Famine: Sudan’s Descent into Starvation


Sudan’s man-made famine threatens 755,000 lives as conflict disrupts aid. Global inaction exacerbates this humanitarian crisis. “Right Steps Today, Better Africa Tomorrow” urges proactive response.

In the heart of Sudan, a silent but deadly foe is taking its toll: a “man-made famine” spurred by conflict. The dire situation is unfolding with the potential to become the most catastrophic humanitarian crisis the world has seen in decades. Aid groups are sounding the alarm, yet the global response remains tepid.

A recent UN-backed study reveals that 755,000 Sudanese are teetering on the edge of starvation, a grim figure not witnessed since Ethiopia’s devastating famine in the 1980s. Barrett Alexander, Mercy Corps’ director of programs in Sudan, fears the actual numbers could be higher, as ongoing conflict displaces farmers and jeopardizes future harvests.

Bureaucratic Roadblocks and Scorched Earth

Sudan’s internal strife, which erupted in April 2023, pits the national army against the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The war, sparked by a failed integration plan, has led to widespread destruction and severe bureaucratic hurdles that stymie aid efforts. “Getting across the frontlines is nearly impossible,” Alexander lamented, highlighting the perilous and obstructive conditions for humanitarian workers.

A Cry for Help Amidst Political Games

Eatizaz Yousif of the International Rescue Committee recounts harrowing tales from South Kordofan, where people have resorted to eating grass to survive. “We will very soon see people dying from a lack of food,” she warns. This dire situation, compounded by looted food warehouses and attacks on aid workers, underscores the crisis’s human-made nature. “It’s definitely a man-made hunger crisis because we don’t have a problem with the level of grain at this time,” Yousif stresses.

The United States and other international actors are urging the warring factions to return to the negotiating table. However, entrenched interests and external influences complicate these efforts. The RSF, allegedly supported by the UAE and Russia’s Wagner mercenaries, faces off against an army backed by Egypt, Turkey, and reportedly Iran.

A Call for Global Attention

With the world’s focus split among various geopolitical hotspots, Sudan’s crisis has garnered only a fraction of the necessary aid. The United Nations has received just 17 percent of the $2.7 billion it needs for Sudan. “Compare Sudan with crises like Gaza and Ukraine — maybe they are more important in the geopolitical arena,” Yousif reflects. “If you see the number of displaced and the number of humans suffering, Sudan should be on the top of humanitarian attention.”

The Bigger Picture

Sudan’s plight is a stark reminder of the devastating consequences of human conflict on food security. As the world watches, it must also act. In the words of Samantha Power, head of USAID, “The two sides must negotiate an immediate ceasefire to facilitate predictable and sustained humanitarian access to all Sudanese and remain at the negotiating table to end this conflict.”

The echoes of Sudan’s hunger crisis demand not just sympathy but action. “Right Steps Today, Better Africa Tomorrow,” the Get It Right project’s slogan, captures the essence of what’s needed: proactive and united efforts to address and prevent such tragedies. Let’s hope the world listens before more lives are lost to this man-made famine.


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