The urgent humanitarian crisis you haven’t heard of  

Smoke rises over Khartoum, Sudan, Friday, June 23, 2023. It has now been eight months since war broke out in Khartoum, Sudan. Photo from File/AP Photo

It has now been eight months since war broke out in Khartoum, Sudan. According to the United Nations aid chief, more than 10,000 men, women and children have lost their lives since the conflict broke out on April 15, 2023, between the Sudanese Armed Forces, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces, a powerful paramilitary group led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as “Hemedti.” Both groups have been relentlessly battling each other to gain full control of the country and its substantial resources.   

Sudan has a long history of standing up against oppressive government control through uprisings and coups. One of the most notable and more recent examples is the 2019 non-violent revolution, which lasted for 12 months and gained global attention, resulting in the overthrow of former President Omar Al-Bashir.  

Even before this, the 1964 revolution brought down dictator General Ibrahim Abboud and the bloodless coup of 1985 led to the removal of President Gaafar Nimeiry. 

Compared to Sudan’s history of uprisings, this conflict has been led by mass violence, abuse and abuse of power. Many civilians continue to be deliberately targeted and physically forced out of their homes by RSF members, who have not shied away from trespassing into homes destroying the memories of many families as a means to intimidate and scare away homeowners.  

Due to this ongoing violence and political unrest, over 5.6 million Sudanese have been internally displaced. This number is added to the three million who were internally displaced within the country before this ongoing conflict. Additionally, according to UNICEF Sudan, Sudan has now become the largest child displacement crisis in the world, with more than three million people fleeing widespread violence being children. Sudan has now become the world’s largest internally displaced refugee crisis.  

Civilians have been caught in immense crossfire when fleeing. Many have fled into unstable areas of neighboring countries such as Chad, Ethiopia and South Sudan. Others have taken a long and dangerous journey to find safety within Egypt.  

Unfortunately, little media coverage has been given to this dire situation, and many civilians still desperately need humanitarian assistance. The World Health Organization warns that disease outbreaks, malnutrition and non-communicable diseases are at an all-time high in war-torn Sudan. Communicable diseases such as cholera, measles and malaria have been circulating within the state, aside from the mass combination of other diseases and malnutrition can be lethal.  

Healthcare continues to be limited, as health facilities in Sudan are nonfunctional due to the conflict. According to the WHO, over 80% of health facilities are non-functioning. This leads to mass shortages of medication and medical supplies. There has been little action taken by international communities to resolve and support Sudanese in need of humanitarian aid. Encouraging more countries to support neighboring countries taking in refugees is important. Now is not the time to hold back from providing support and medical assistance.  

People board a truck as they leave Khartoum, Sudan, Monday, June 19, 2023. Sudan’s warring parties have begun another attempt at a cease-fire after more than two months of brutal fighting — and ahead of an international conference to raise funds for humanitarian assistance. Photo from File/AP Photo

As a Sudanese-American student at the University of Connecticut, I have been following the risky, life-threatening journey of many members of my family and community who have fled Sudan seeking safety. A number of them have lost family members who undertook the journey.  

Young children and university students’ educational futures are under attack. Since conflict arose in 2019, access to education has been extremely unsteady. Universities were forced to close for days, which later led to months. Access to education outside the Sudanese borders is not guaranteed due to the mass influx of refugees coming into neighboring countries. 

Access to work is limited and not available to all. Many are coming into a new country trying to establish themselves, but large inflows of people seeking opportunity create immense strain on the job market.  

The lack of a global, public response reflects a deeper characteristic of our society. When conflicts arise that do not directly affect the Western world and its interests, there is little acknowledgement of the atrocities being inflicted right now. Political responsibility must be taken to magnify the voices of the minority, and we as students should reflect on our silence.  

In light of the current situation, we must take immediate action to educate ourselves about the overwhelming amount of crises going on in the world that go untelevised. 

It is imperative as students who hold positions of privilege, we begin to take responsibility and use our voices to influence and effect positive change on behalf of others who are unable to do so themselves. 

As of now, there is no determined solution to the crisis raging in Sudan, but the hope, love and resilience of the Sudanese people is a testament to what Sudan will become again — so they can once again return to live in peace and safety in Sudan.  

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