Geneva, 15 October – The Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) has returned from Sudan, where unprecedented flooding has killed more than 100 people and left over 875,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance – about half of whom are children.
On his first overseas mission since taking office in February 2020, Jagan Chapagain met Sudanese communities in the throes of a major and complex humanitarian emergency – as flooding, soaring inflation, a deteriorating health situation and the ongoing risk of COVID-19 threaten to undo the country’s development progress of recent years.
Speaking about his visit to Algamayer camp on the outskirts of Khartoum, the Secretary General said: “I was not prepared for what I saw. The conditions are simply appalling. The people I met in the camp are angry and told me they haven’t received anywhere near the kind of support that they need. They told me they need shelter, clean water and access to basic sanitation. These are the kind of conditions that can lead to disease and even worse suffering.”
Across Sudan, at least 175,000 houses have been destroyed leaving thousands of families homeless. Food crops and livestock have also been wiped out, and with soaring inflation leading to the cost of food skyrocketing by nearly 200 per cent, communities are facing crisis levels of food insecurity.
“These are just numbers. They don’t convey the real human impact of this crisis. What really struck me was the toll the floods have taken on children, women, and other vulnerable groups. In fact, in many ways, this is a children’s emergency. About half of all those affected are children,” continued Mr Chapagain.
Red Crescent volunteers are present in all 18 regions of Sudan and have been providing vital humanitarian assistance since the flooding hit. Support includes search and rescue operations, first aid and psychosocial support, distributing food and emergency items and assisting families to move to higher ground. In September, IFRC launched an emergency appeal for 12 million Swiss francs to meaningfully extend this support, which currently sits at only 15% funded.
“I met volunteers and frontline staff from the Sudanese Red Crescent who are working tirelessly to support their communities, but they don’t have the cash or the tools to do so. We need to help them, and we need to help the people of Sudan. The consequences of failing the people of Sudan at this juncture could be severe,” Mr Chapagain concluded.
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