The war in Sudan has driven more than four million people from their homes since April, a top UN humanitarian official said on Wednesday.
Addressing the Security Council, Edem Wosornu, director of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs' Operations and Advocacy Division, said nearly four months into the conflict, millions of people remain “trapped in humanitarian calamity that continues to grow”.
The UN official underscored the alarming progression of Sudan's slide into an all-encompassing humanitarian disaster.
She said that about 3.2 million people have experienced internal displacement and an additional 900,000 have sought refuge in neighbouring countries such as Chad, Egypt, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
Ms Wosornu said more than 20 million people, or more than 40 per cent of the total population, are facing alarming degrees of acute food insecurity. She added that a staggering 14 million children in Sudan – half of the country's minor population – are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
“The intense fighting and difficult operating environments are constraining our ability to deliver humanitarian assistance, which is urgently required,” she said.
The UN official also expressed deep concern over accounts of ethnically motivated violence in West Darfur, describing them as “extremely alarming”.
Sudan was plunged into turmoil in April, triggered by escalating tension between the military, under the leadership of Gen Abdel Fattah Burhan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, overseen by Gen Mohamed Dagalo.
The US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield expressed concern over “unacceptable” threats made by Sudan to terminate the presence of the world body's mission in Sudan, in particular accusations levied at Volker Perthes, head of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan.
On June 8, Unitams in Sudan was accused by Khartoum of stoking the country's conflict and ignoring the country's “national sovereignty”, with Gen Al Burhan demanding he be replaced.
“We were told yesterday that Volker would be briefing the council, and this morning, his name was pulled,” Ms Thomas-Greenfield told reporters following the council meeting.
“And we understand that happened because the Sudanese government threatened to pull Unitams out of Sudan if he briefed the council.”
She underlined the gravity of the situation, stressing that no country should possess the ability to “bully” a speaker into silence.