US earmarks more than $47m in humanitarian aid for Sudan and its neighbours

The funds bring Washington's support for the war-torn nation to more than $968 million

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The US has announced an aid package of more than $47 million for war-torn Sudan and its neighbours Chad and South Sudan.

The aid is expected to help alleviate the suffering of almost 25 million people, including refugees who have fled Sudan into Chad and South Sudan, the US State Department said in a statement.

“This US humanitarian assistance provides critical life-saving assistance including food, water and sanitation facilities, shelter, medical services, including mental health support, and protection to Sudanese fleeing the conflict,” the US State Department said on Wednesday.

The funding package brings Washington's total humanitarian aid for Sudan to more than $968 million since last year.

Sudan's army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces began battling each other in mid-April last year as tension over plans for a new political transition and restructuring of the military erupted into heavy fighting.

The announcement of aid comes at a time when the US is hoping for a relaunch of talks aimed at ending the conflict in Sudan, as well as the opening up of access to humanitarian aid after Ramadan ends in April.

“We need to restart formal talks,” Tom Perriello, who took up his role as US special envoy to Sudan late last month, said in a virtual press conference on Thursday. “We hope that will happen as soon as Ramadan is over.”

Saudi Arabia and the US led talks in Jeddah last year to try to reach a truce between Sudan's army and the RSF.

However, the negotiations faltered amid competing international peace initiatives.

Nearly quarter of a million children face famine in Sudan

Nearly quarter of a million children face famine in Sudan

The two sides had staged a coup in 2021 that derailed a transition towards elections following the overthrow of autocratic ruler Omar Al Bashir in a popular uprising two years earlier.

The conflict has driven about 8.5 million people from their homes, creating the world's biggest displacement crisis.

It has also pushed parts of the population of 49 million close to famine, and caused waves of ethnic killings and sexual violence in the western region of Darfur.

According to the UN, about 28 million people across the region – 18 million in Sudan, seven million in South Sudan and nearly three million in Chad – face acute food insecurity. About five million face starvation.

The UN also said about 730,000 children in Sudan, including more than 240,000 in Darfur, are believed to be suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

The UN director of humanitarian operations, Edem Wosornu, told the Security Council that the world body's appeal for $2.7 billion for Sudan was less than 5 per cent funded – receiving only $131 million.

The latest US relief funds were announced by Julieta Valls Noyes, assistant secretary for the Population, Refugees and Migration Bureau, during a meeting in N’Djamena with Chadian Prime Minister Succes Masra.

Chad will receive $18 million from the funding package, the bureau said on social platform X.

Chad alone has received about 700,000 people from Sudan since the conflict erupted, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council.

The US seized the opportunity to renew its calls on warring parties to end hostilities.

“Preventing a famine and long-term catastrophe will require both a ceasefire and unhindered humanitarian access,” the State Department said.

Updated: March 22, 2024, 9:42 AM