Since April 2023, at least 25 million Sudanese people have been plunged into dire humanitarian crises amid fighting between rivalling Sudanese Armed Forces and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.
Qatar’s permanent representative to the office affirmed her country’s support for mediation efforts in the Sudan conflict, during a meeting at the United Nations Palais des Nations in Geneva on Wednesday.
The UN humanitarian office (UN OCHA) and refugee agency (UNHCR) jointly announced the launch of the Sudan Humanitarian Needs and Response Plan and the Sudan Regional Refugee Response Plan for 2024 on Wednesday.
As part of this humanitarian response, the UN has appealed to the international community for $4.1 billion in aid contributions to “meet the most urgent humanitarian needs of civilians in war-torn Sudan and those who have fled to neighbouring countries,” the UNHCR said.
At the announcement of the UN’s humanitarian plan, Hend Bint Abd Al-Rahman Al-Muftah, Qatar’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, highlighted the Gulf state’s ongoing commitment to alleviating the suffering of Sudan’s civilians amid the conflict.
Responding to what she called the “catastrophic deterioration” of all aspects of Sudan’s infrastructure, Al Muftah said Qatar has consistently stood firm in its humanitarian responsibility to the Sudanese people.
The Qatari Permanent Representative reminded her counterparts in Geneva that Qatar Charity (QC) has worked cooperatively with the UNHCR to support Sudanese refugees in Chad and Egypt.
QC-UNHCR humanitarian agreement
In September 2023, QC entered an agreement with the UNHCR. As part of this bilateral cooperation, Qatar has supported 30,000 Sudanese refugees with $1,200,136 worth of zakat funds (religiously obliged almsgiving).
The 2023 agreement has supported Sudan’s civilians to meet their healthcare, housing and food needs.
After the agreement was inked, Nawaf Abdulla Al-Hammadi, QC’s Chief Global Programmes Officer said, “With this contribution, we hope to ease some of the burdens posed on vulnerable refugee Sudanese families fleeing to Egypt and Chad in a dignified manner.”
Aside from financial support, Al Muftah said that negotiations between the warring parties are the only solution to lasting peace.
She added that Qatar is keen to support regional and international mediation efforts that will prevent further suffering among Sudan’s civilians.
She also stressed the need to uphold international humanitarian law so that aid missions can safely reach those worse affected.
Situation in Sudan
In a communique published on Wednesday by the UNHCR, the agency stressed that since the conflict began in April 2023, the war has taken a worrying toll on Sudan’s infrastructure – negatively impacting millions of Sudanese civilians.
Fighting erupted in April between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) amid an internationally backed framework to merge the two factions for a democratic transition of power in Sudan.
The SAF and RSF were unable to resolve the matter of who would assume leadership. This power struggle led to the SAF’s General Abdel Fattah Al Burhan and the RSF’s Mohamed ‘Hemedti’ Hamdan Dagalo plummeting their nation into war.
According to a report published in February by the UNHCR, this conflict has killed at least 12,000 people and crippled the nation’s fresh water and healthcare infrastructures.
The UNHCR also reported that the Sudanese banking sector has collapsed and looting, and interruptions to electrical and telecommunications supplies are frequent.
The SAF’s and RSF’s war has also induced a refugee crisis in Africa. Neighbouring countries such as the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Sudan are hosting hundreds of thousands of Sudanese civilians seeking to escape the violence.
According to UN OCHA, the conflict has internally and externally displaced 10.7 million people.
The hardship experienced by Sudan’s displaced include insufficient access to food and battling the spread of communicable diseases, such as cholera.