In light of the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Sudan, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is sending the world body’s Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths to the region “immediately,” a UN spokesman said on Sunday.
The scale and speed of what is unfolding is unprecedented in Sudan, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for Guterres, said in a statement.
He added that the United Nations is “extremely concerned” by the immediate as well as long-term impact on all people in Sudan and the broader region.
“We once again urge all parties to the conflict to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, allow safe passage for civilians fleeing areas of hostilities, respect humanitarian workers and assets, facilitate relief operations, and respect medical personnel, transport and facilities,” said Dujarric.
More than 500 people have been killed and over 4,000 others wounded since clashes erupted on April 15 between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, according to the Sudanese Health Ministry.
In a statement issued ahead of his trip to the region, Griffiths, also the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said that two weeks since clashes erupted, the humanitarian situation is “reaching breaking point.”
Goods essential for people’s survival are becoming scarce in the hardest-hit urban centres, especially Khartoum, and families are struggling to access water, food, fuel and other critical commodities, he said.
He warned that access to urgent health care, including for those injured in the violence, is severely constrained, raising the risk of preventable death.
Griffiths said he is heading to the region to explore how to bring immediate relief to the millions of people “whose lives have turned upside down overnight.”
“However, the obvious solution to this crisis is to stop the fighting,” said the UN relief chief.