Sudan is experiencing unprecedented levels of hunger: World Food Programme News
RomanDeckert, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Sudan is experiencing unprecedented levels of hunger: World Food Programme

The World Food Programme (WFP) reported Thursday that Sudan is experiencing unprecedented levels of hunger and violence, with the nation’s conflict on the verge of becoming the world’s largest hunger crisis due to increased violent attacks by paramilitary groups. 

According to WFP, 18 million people are currently facing acute food insecurity in Sudan. The Principals of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee recently warned that 10.5 million people have been displaced inside and outside of the country since mid-April 2023 and that famine is “quickly closing in on millions of people in Darfur, Kordofan, Al Jazirah and Khartoum.”

WFP Regional Director for Eastern Africa Michael Dunford said

Sudan is in the grip of widespread hunger and malnutrition. WFP continues to expand its food and nutrition assistance to reach millions more people who are living through the daily horrors of war. The situation is already catastrophic and has the potential to worsen further unless support reaches all those affected by conflict.

WFP emphasized that humanitarian agencies are struggling to support the needs of people across the country and noted that the lack of food security, medical care and clean water are a “devastating reality for Sudan’s population” and contribute to famine-like conditions. The organization further stated, “Malnutrition among children in Sudan has also hit shocking levels, leaving an entire generation at risk.”

Last month, Doctors Without Borders warned that the conflict in Sudan was a  “humanitarian catastrophe” as the death toll reached 134. Humanitarian aid agencies and human rights organizations have called on the parties involved in the conflict to take measures to prevent the escalation of the hunger crisis, and reports have accused the parties of using starvation as a weapon of war during the past year.

‘Starvation as a weapon of war’ refers to the intentional use of hunger and deprivation of food resources to weaken, punish, or force a population into submission. This tactic has devastating humanitarian consequences and is regarded as a violation of human rights and international law.

Under the Geneva Conventions (1949) and specifically Additional Protocol I (1977), Article 54 prohibits the starvation of civilians as a method of warfare. It also forbids attacks on objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas, and drinking water installations. Under Article 8, the Rome Statute classifies the intentional use of starvation as a war crime in both international and non-international armed conflicts.