From the Field

Sudan crisis: Facts, FAQs, and how to help

Since mid-April 2023, conflict has roiled Sudan, fueling one of the world’s largest and most challenging humanitarian crises. Over 12 million people — approximately a quarter of Sudan’s population — have fled their homes. War-torn Sudan now has the highest number of displaced children globally.

The situation has escalated to brink of famine, with a severe food crisis looming over the nation. Families are struggling for every meal, often going days without enough food, and the outlook for the coming months is dire. Entire communities, including residents, displaced people, and refugees, face the threat of famine. The youngest and most vulnerable are at the greatest risk, with millions of children experiencing severe hunger and life-threatening conditions.

 Sudan crisis: Facts, FAQs, and how to help

Fast facts: Sudan crisis

  • Mass displacement: As of June 10, 2024, over 12 million people have been forced to flee their homes in Sudan due to the widespread violence.
  • Acute food insecurity: Over half the population of Sudan (25.6 million people) is facing crisis or worse conditions of food insecurity between June and September of this year.
  • Health emergency: Outbreaks of disease, including cholera, malaria, measles, and dengue fever, are rising due to disrupted health services.
  • Education loss: With most schools closed or struggling to reopen, more than 90% of Sudan’s 19 million school-aged children have no access to formal education, jeopardizing their prospects and their country’s future.
  • Humanitarian response: Since April 2023, World Vision has supported more than 1.8 million people in Sudan, most of them women and children, through emergency assistance programs focusing on food security; child protection; health and nutrition; water, sanitation, and hygiene; and more.


A throng of women and children dressed in colorful garments and headscarves huddle beneath a concrete bridge. The sky is white.
A spontaneous settlement of refugees from Sudan has formed near the border community of Adré, Chad. On May 28, 2024, newly arrived women and children sought refuge from the oppressive heat beneath this concrete bridge connecting the two countries, waiting for their names and information to be recorded and health cards to be issued for the children. (© 2024 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

What is the current situation in Sudan?

Since hostilities escalated on April 15, 2023, Sudan has rapidly become one of the world’s most severe crises:

  • More than a quarter of Sudan’s population of 47 million are displaced, with 12 million people fleeing their homes. Of those, 2 million are seeking safety in neighboring countries including Chad, the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, and South Sudan.
  • A surge in violence on June 5, 2024, claimed over 100 civilian lives, including children and women, and has heightened fears of broader conflict and even greater suffering.
  • Sudan is facing “the worst recorded levels of acute food insecurity” ever recorded in the country, with 25.6 million people experiencing high levels of food insecurity, as indicated in the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report. The IPC, established in 2004 during the famine in Somalia, involves U.N. agencies, aid groups, governments, and others. It plays a crucial role in evaluating and addressing food security crises worldwide.

“It is truly heartbreaking to see food scarcity and deprivation on the rise,” said John Makoni, interim national director for World Vision in Sudan. “We have a looming catastrophic situation that is quickly approaching. The majority of families are feeling helpless, and they are desperate with nothing to feed their families.”


What is happening with Sudan’s hunger crisis?

Sudan is confronting a severe food crisis that affects more than half of the nation’s population as they struggle to secure enough food.

  • 8.5 million people, or 18% of the population, are facing extreme food shortages.
  • People living in 14 different areas, including local residents, those displaced from their homes, and refugees, are at risk of famine from June to September 2024.
  • Nearly 9 million children are at risk of not getting enough food, and over 700,000 children under 5 are at imminent risk of dying from hunger-related causes.

“With refugee families at the Sudan–Chad border, I witnessed some of the worst conditions for children’s survival that I have ever seen,” said Edgar Sandoval Sr., president and CEO of World Vision, who visited in May. “The heat is unbearable at nearly 110 degrees. There is no water. There is no food. There is no shelter. You find all the things that you would want to run away from, and yet people are running toward them. So, you can only imagine the violence and the hunger that they’re running away from in Sudan. The suffering and desperation are at a massive scale, yet this is a crisis you hear almost nothing about. It deserves headlines. It deserves prime time. We know these children are equally precious to God. They deserve our attention. They deserve our help.”


In what ways has the conflict in Sudan affected its people?

The ongoing conflict in Sudan has had devastating effects on its people, with the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reporting that 1 in 2 people in Sudan require humanitarian aid. Millions of people have been displaced and face immense uncertainty. Even before the conflict, many people faced hunger daily as a result of climate shocks, rising food prices, and political unrest.

The ongoing conflict has intensified pre-existing challenges, including:

  • Acute shortages of food, water, medicines, and fuel, with prices of essential items and transportation sharply increasing.
  • Limited or no access to healthcare services. Armed hostilities have affected a majority of health facilities in conflict zones, rendering them non-operational, and the remaining facilities are stretched beyond capacity.
  • Forced displacement in various states, including Khartoum, Northern, Blue Nile, North Kordofan, North Darfur, West Darfur, and South Darfur. Many from these areas have fled to the neighboring countries of the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, and South Sudan.
  • Sexual and gender-based violence, which has been reported with increasing frequency. Protection of children and women is an urgent priority.
  • Fear and insecurity. Armed combatants have been occupying homes and reportedly some hospitals and schools, attacking water and electrical infrastructure.


How has the conflict impacted children in Sudan?

Children bear the brunt of the devasting crisis, as violence and hunger threaten their lives and future prospects.

More children are displaced in Sudan than anywhere else in the world. The estimated number of internally displaced persons in Sudan is over 10 million.

World Vision is deeply concerned about the profound long-term effects of hunger and food insecurity on the physical and cognitive development of Sudan’s children.

A woman in a pink scarf looks into the camera, holding a malnourished child on her lap while another malnourished child lies beside her.
Tahani, 20, sits with her severely malnourished twins, Adam and Adeeb, at a nutrition and rehabilitation center in Farchana, Chad, to which World Vision referred the boys. (© 2024 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Among the most vulnerable are 21-month-old twin boys Adam and Adeeb, pictured above. Their mother, Tahani, endured a harrowing journey from her community in Sudan to the border of Chad. She walked to Farchana, carrying one of her twins while a relative carried the other. “I faced shooting and people killing people on the road when I started coming,” Tahani said. “Houses and villages were on fire.” Her sons are now severely malnourished, each weighing only 13 pounds.

Sudanese families like Tahani’s illustrate the complex nature of this crisis, especially for children, who have not only faced violence and displacement but now also struggle with a severe lack of food and other critical resources.

This multifaceted crisis also heightens protection concerns, especially for girls who are increasingly at risk of sexual exploitation, abuse, hazardous work, and child marriage. The ongoing violence has placed children at risk, forcing them and their families to flee from conflict and creating uncertainty about their future.

“When I get back home, I may not find anything to eat. This is frustrating me. I pray that the conflict ends soon so that we can live in peace and get back to school. I have dreams of becoming a doctor someday. We ask aid agencies to support us,” said 15-year-old Amani, who has been displaced due to ongoing hostilities.

The hunger crisis and ongoing conflict have also exacerbated one of the world’s worst education crises, where more than 90% of Sudan’s 19 million school-age children lack access to formal education. This disruption isn’t just a short-term problem; it poses long-term risks, potentially leading to a generational crisis. And tragically, many children may not make it to school age.


Is Sudan at risk for famine?

The last time famine was declared in East Africa was in South Sudan in 2017, and before that, Somalia in 2011. In both situations, hundreds of thousands of lives were lost, and children suffered long-term impacts from malnutrition and loss of agriculture outputs. The crisis in Sudan is similarly grim. The conflict between parties in Sudan is driving a hunger crisis dangerously approaching famine and is affecting millions of people.

Sudan has also been affected by climate shocks and below-average precipitation for the third season in a row. The ongoing conflict, coupled with these poor weather conditions, has resulted in near-total harvest failures.


How many people has World Vision supported in the crisis in Sudan?

As one of the largest humanitarian aid organizations in Sudan, World Vision has reached more than 1.8 million people in the past year, most of them women and children — delivering lifesaving aid including food, access to clean water, child protection support, health and nutrition programs, sanitation and hygiene solutions, and more.

A health worker in a white coat with the World Vision logo sits at a desk with medical supplies, viewed from overhead.
Health workers in World Vision’s mobile health clinics are responding to urgent needs in Sudan. We have established 14 of these clinics in Blue Nile state, where they play a vital role in offering essential health and nutrition services to vulnerable host communities and displaced families. (© 2023 World Vision/photo by Kelvin Kagiri)

In Sudan, we’re actively adjusting our strategies to ensure the quickest and most effective response to support impacted communities across four states: Blue Nile, East Darfur, South Darfur, and South Kordofan. In addition to our primary response areas, another key priority for World Vision and our humanitarian partners is to ensure the safe delivery of medical and other essential supplies to Khartoum state, where humanitarian access is highly challenging due to airstrikes and shelling.

In the face of widespread security challenges, World Vision remains committed to serving the most vulnerable communities affected by the conflict. Our responses in neighboring countries to which refugees have fled include:

In Ethiopia, support for refugees, returnees, and asylum seekers. We’ve reached 24,276 people, including 10,868 children, with programs focused on child protection, health, and nutrition. We’ve also reached over 11,287 people through our protection interventions, including Child-Friendly Spaces.

In Chad, as of April 2024, we’ve assisted over 333,172 people, including 111,583 who have received food and cash assistance. Humanitarian needs continue to increase due to food insecurity and rising malnutrition. We’re responding with emergency food, healthcare, shelter, child protection, water and sanitation, and psychosocial support programs.

In South Sudan, World Vision has reached more than 214,000 people through our programs focused on health and nutrition; water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH); and food and cash assistance.

In the Central African Republic, we’ve supported 24,369 people, including 16,451 children, through our child protection and water, sanitation, and hygiene programs. Approximately 4,000 people have received access to clean water through eight newly constructed borehole wells. We’ve also distributed 12,000 mosquito nets and equipped 2,000 households hosting refugees with latrines, hygiene kits, and access to Child-Friendly Spaces.

Makoni said the biggest challenge aid agencies are facing is humanitarian access in Sudan. “We need unhindered access to reach the people most in need with lifesaving assistance. Any further delays can be catastrophic and will result in deaths. It is evident the most vulnerable children and their families are bearing the brunt.”


A young child sits on a woman’s lap while the circumference of the child’s arm is measured for malnutrition. The tape shows red.
A healthcare official provides vital care to a malnourished child at one of World Vision’s 14 mobile clinics in Blue Nile, Sudan. These clinics offer comprehensive health and nutrition support, including medical consultations, and clean birth kits with essential items for birth attendants where healthcare facilities are scarce or unavailable. (© 2023 World Vision/photo by Kelvin Kagiri)

Where has World Vision worked in Sudan, and for how long?

Headquartered in Khartoum, our local staff work with volunteers and partners primarily in four states: South Darfur, Blue Nile, East Darfur, and South Kordofan. We’ve served children and families in Sudan from 1983 to 1988 and from 2004 onwards, initially responding in Darfur.


How can I help children and families affected by the crisis in Sudan?

  • Pray: Join us in praying for all those affected by the conflict in Sudan.

Heavenly Father, we come before You with heavy hearts, lifting up the people of Sudan in their time of need. We pray for the safety of children, families, and World Vision staff, asking for Your protection and guidance as they navigate these dangerous times. Lord, we lift up those suffering from the hunger crisis, and we pray for provision and nourishment during this time of scarcity. We ask for Your special protection over women and girls who are particularly vulnerable to violence. Shield them from harm and give them strength and courage.

Lord, we plead for an end to the fighting and ask that Your peace, which surpasses all understanding, take the place of conflict. In Your mercy and grace we trust and hope. Amen.

  • Give: Your gift today will help deliver essential care to children and families made vulnerable by the crisis in Sudan.


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