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Jun 10, 2024, 10:54am EDT
Africa
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Semafor Signals

The world’s largest displacement crisis is being underfunded and ignored

Insights from Sudan Tribune, Foreign Policy, and El País

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A scene from Sudan
Zohra Bensemra/File Photo/Reuters
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The News

The number of people internally displaced in Sudan could soon hit 10 million, the United Nations’ migration agency said on Friday.

Fighting between the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group and the Sudanese army broke out in April 2023, and quickly spread across the country, leading to the world’s largest displacement crisis. ”How much suffering and loss of life must the people of Sudan endure before the world takes notice?” a UN official at the International Organization for Migration told Reuters.

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The country is also at risk of a hunger crisis, with more than 18 million people acutely hungry, several UN agencies warned in May.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Gaza, Ukraine aid prioritized over ‘underfunded’ Sudan

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Sources:  
Sudan Tribune, Lawfare, El País

The UN has said that $2.7 billion is needed to cover its humanitarian projects in Sudan. But so far, the UN’s efforts have only gathered 16% of the money they need, and other humanitarian responses for Sudan remain severely underfunded. “Attention has been stretched by the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, and Sudan has dropped lower and lower on the list of priorities,” two International Rescue Committee staffers wrote. The humanitarian crisis is further complicated by the military junta’s efforts to restrict aid going to areas controlled by the Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary group. “What they’re basically doing is making sure the aid remains in their areas,” a Doctors Without Borders employee told El País.

US pushes for talks, but Sudan remains low on the agenda

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Sources:  
Foreign Policy, The Hill

Sudan has been low on the US’ list of priorities, experts say; ceasefire talks between the country’s two warring sides have not been led by top US officials, and efforts to appoint a presidential envoy on Sudan who reports directly to the White House fell short. Instead, the US appointed a special envoy who reports to an assistant secretary of state. The envoy recently spoke to an almost empty room during a US congressional hearing, Foreign Policy noted. “We are defining the soul of our nation, as Americans, by how we are allowing, frankly, such a nightmarish scenario to go undiscussed and unfocused,” Sen. Cory Booker said last week.

Conflict in Sudan could destabilize the region

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Sources:  
Norwegian Refugee Council, US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Foreign Policy

Experts fear that a long-drawn out conflict could further destabilize not only Sudan, but much of the African continent. More than 10 million Sudanese have fled to neighboring countries that have little capacity to take in displaced people, putting an “unbearable strain” on Chad, one of the world’s poorest states. Sudan’s position at the crossroads of the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, and North Africa means that “it could once again become an ideal environment for terrorist and criminal networks,” a recent threat report from a US intelligence agency warned. “The prospects of controlling illegal flow of drugs, weapons, migrants, fighters across unstable regions in Africa, you can kiss all of that goodbye if Sudan collapses,” an expert told Foreign Policy.

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