One-third of Sudan’s population, or 15 million people, are facing acute food insecurity, according to a new assessment released on Thursday by the World Food Programme (WFP). 

The Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment (CFSVA) shows that the combined effects of economic and political crises; conflict and displacement; climate shocks; and a poor harvest in the past agricultural season are among the key drivers of the emergency

As millions of people are being “pushed deeper into hunger and poverty”, Eddie Rowe, WFP Representative and Country Director in Sudan, drew attention to another challenge. 

“Funding levels are not matching the humanitarian needs and we must act now to avoid increasing hunger levels and to save the lives of those already affected,” he warned. 

Predicted to worsen 

The assessment projects that the situation is likely to worsen throughout the country’s lean season, which started this month and will continue through September.  

By that time, up to 40 per cent of the population, or around 18 million people, may slip into food insecurity, which WFP and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) had warned of earlier this year.   

“In the 2021/2022 harvest year, Sudan was able to produce 5.1 million tons of cereal, enough to cover the needs of less than two thirds of the population,” said Babagana Ahmadu, FAO Representative in Sudan.  

“If the ongoing agriculture season doesn’t receive robust support with agricultural inputs and livestock services, the number of food insecure people may dramatically increase to unprecedented levels and ultimately lead to more conflict and displacement”. 

Protracted conflict to blame 

With more than half of the country’s wheat imports stemming from the Black Sea region, the conflict in Ukraine has further driven up food and fuel prices – compounding the situation. 

The CFSVA assessment illustrates that food insecurity exists in all of Sudan’s 18 states and has worsened in 16.  

The 10 most affected localities are in Darfur, which have been ravaged by nearly two decades of protracted conflict and displacement. 

The most affected is Kereneik, West Darfur, where renewed clashes at the end of April claimed the lives of at least 179 people, displaced around 125,000, and left up to 90 per cent of the population food insecure, according to the CFSVA analysis.    

Call for action 

An earlier WFP and FAO assessment on agricultural production, released last March, revealed that poor harvests in many parts of Sudan negatively affected food availability and livelihood opportunities.  

Building upon this, the newly released CFSVA confirms the worsening food security situation in Sudan.   

To address the sharp rise in food insecurity, FAO and WFP are calling for urgent action, including increased funding, in order to save lives and prevent a looming hunger crisis in Sudan