UN Warns of Consequences of Closing Vital Aid Corridor to Darfur

Tens of thousands of children in Zamzam camp in northern Darfur are suffering from acute malnutrition

The United Nations World Food Programme stated today, Friday, that violence in the vicinity of El Fasher city in the Darfur region of Sudan has resulted in the closure of a recently opened humanitarian corridor from Chad, warning of running out of time to prevent a famine in this vast region.

The attacks in El Fasher, the last stronghold of the Sudanese army in Darfur, inhabited by about 1.6 million people, have triggered severe warnings of a new wave of mass displacement and sectarian conflict within the framework of the war that has been ongoing in Sudan since last year.

The conflict between the army and the Rapid Support Forces has exacerbated the hunger crisis, with some resorting to eating tree leaves, and even soil, as famine approaches.

Relief officials say both sides are looting or preventing aid from reaching areas where famine is prevalent, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.

Rapid Support Forces leader Mohamed Hamdan DagaloHemeti‘ earlier called on the international community to urgently implement humanitarian interventions to save the lives of those affected in the hardest-hit areas, accusing Sudanese army leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan of obstructing the passage of aid.

Hemeti has repeatedly affirmed his sincere commitment to removing obstacles and providing all guarantees to allow the passage of humanitarian aid to those affected in all Sudanese regions without impediments and ensuring protection for them and humanitarian workers.

The World Food Programme said recent acts of violence in the El Fasher area have halted the passage of aid convoys through the Tiné border crossing in Chad, while restrictions imposed by authorities allied with the army prevent aid from being delivered through the only other aid corridor from Chad in Adré.

Only small amounts of aid have entered El Fasher during the war, the only channel approved by the army to transport shipments to other parts of Darfur.

A satellite imagery study conducted by the Yale Humanitarian Research Lab indicates that 23 villages near El Fasher have been destroyed since March.

The study showed that more than 600 buildings were damaged by fires during the same period in the same city, as well as in areas reportedly shelled by the army.

Médecins Sans Frontières charity said Thursday that in Zamzam refugee camp in northern Darfur, 30 percent of at least 46,000 children suffer from severe malnutrition, “revealing a massive crisis in the making.” The camp has not officially seen food distribution since May 2023.

Médecins Sans Frontières said in a statement, “Despite the United Nations’ awareness of the seriousness of the situation and its warnings of an impending famine, it is not doing enough to prevent the malnutrition crisis in Zamzam from turning into a larger catastrophe.”

Since mid-April 2023, the Sudanese army and Rapid Support Forces have been engaged in a war that has left more than 13,000 dead and over 7 million displaced and refugees, according to the United Nations.

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