From the Field

Sudan crisis: Facts, FAQs, and how to help

A woman carries a child on her shoulder while standing among women and children. An aid worker stands in the background.

As violence escalates and displacement spreads across Sudan, the hunger crisis there has become increasingly dire. Even before the recent surge in hostilities, approximately one-third of Sudan’s population faced hunger every day. Now, millions more people are at risk of acute food insecurity and starvation, exacerbating an already critical situation.

 Sudan crisis: Facts, FAQs, and how to help

Fast facts: Sudan crisis

  • Sudan is Africa’s third-largest country by area, with a population of more than 45 million.
  • Nearly 16 million people — about one-third of the population — will need humanitarian aid in 2023, with millions of children going hungry.
  • About 11 million people in Sudan lack access to clean water and sanitation.
  • Approximately 10 million people are unable to access essential medical services.
  • About 7 million children are out of school and need education support.
  • Hunger is a grave concern, with 6.2 million people already experiencing crisis levels of food insecurity. Additionally, 1.5 million people are on the brink of famine.
  • 3.7 million people remain internally displaced, and about 1 million refugees from the Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Syria live in Sudan.
  • According to the U. N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR), an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people have fled the recent violence in Sudan’s Darfur region to seek refuge in neighboring Chad.
  • Escalating conflict has killed hundreds of people, with thousands more injured, including children.


What is causing the current crisis in Sudan?

On April 15, 2023, armed clashes broke out in Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan, following days of increased tension regarding a proposed transition to democratic governance. The security situation has deteriorated, resulting in hundreds of deaths, including three World Food Programme (WFP) workers. Armed attacks have also spread to other cities, including Nyala in South Darfur state.

“Thousands upon thousands of civilians are trapped in their homes, shielding from the fighting, with no electricity, unable to venture out and worried about running out of food, drinking water and medicine,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk.


How has the conflict impacted the Sudanese people?

Many people in Sudan were already facing hunger daily as a result of climate shocks, rising food prices, and political unrest. The ongoing conflict and recent surge in violence have affected people in numerous ways, including:

  • Acute shortages of food, water, medicines, and fuel, with prices of essential items and transport sharply increasing.
  • Limited or no access to healthcare services. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported attacks on 11 healthcare facilities, with many other facilities stretched beyond capacity and nearly non-functional due to staffing issues and lack of supplies.
  • Forced displacement in various states, including Khartoum, Northern, Blue Nile, North Kordofan, North Darfur, West Darfur, and South Darfur. Many from these beleaguered states have fled to the countries of Chad, Egypt, and South Sudan.
  • Sexual and gender-based violence. U.N. Women has called on all parties to ensure that women and girls are protected from these crimes.
  • Fear and insecurity. Armed combatants have been occupying homes, reportedly some hospitals and schools, and also attacking water and electrical infrastructure.


A bright pink terrycloth blanket covers a baby who peers over the shoulder of a woman standing in a crowd of mothers and babies.
World Vision, in partnership with the World Food Programme, has supported children and families through health and nutrition services in Otash camp in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur. The clinic has offered therapeutic programs and screenings for children suffering from malnutrition. (©2022 World Vision)

What risks do children face in the Sudan crisis?

Over 3 million children in Sudan are acutely malnourished and face a severe health crisis, contributing to one of the world’s highest malnutrition rates. The situation is worsening as most regions in Sudan are experiencing restricted access to critical resources such as food, water, and sanitation and hygiene resources.

“Sudan is experiencing the highest humanitarian caseload in over a decade, with nearly 16 million people in need of life-saving humanitarian assistance. The escalating violence is only making the situation worse,” said Emmanuel Isch, director of World Vision in Sudan. “We join humanitarian partners in calling for an immediate end to the violence. Every child deserves a safe and protected childhood without the fear of violence, crossfire, and trauma.”

World Vision has joined other humanitarian agencies in calling for all parties to prioritize the protection of civilians, particularly children.

“It is essential that peace is urgently restored if children who are malnourished and face starvation are not to experience deep suffering that could cut short their lives,” added Emmanuel. “[Children] under 5 are especially at risk. Without peace we cannot deliver food assistance and nutrition support to extremely vulnerable girls and boys and their communities.”


How is World Vision responding to the crisis in Sudan?

World Vision is one of the largest humanitarian aid organizations active in Sudan, having worked there for nearly four decades. Over the past year, we have reached more than 1.5 million people — most of them women and children — with life-saving aid, including food, access to clean water, and child protection, health and nutrition, and sanitation and hygiene programs.

Our other work in 2022 included:

  • Supporting a school meal program for more than 140,000 vulnerable children
  • Providing access to clean water for over 55,000 people
  • Reaching more than 41,000 people with home healthcare and treatment

The recent surge in insecurity has forced us to temporarily suspend operations, but our commitment to the people of Sudan remains unwavering. Our staff are eager to return to serving the most vulnerable children and families as soon as the security situation permits.


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

Headquartered in Khartoum, our 308-member local team works with volunteers and partners in four states: South Darfur, Blue Nile, East Darfur, and South Kordofan. We’ve served children and families in Sudan for nearly four decades, from 1971 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 that God will protect and provide for children, families, and communities facing hunger and the effects of the ongoing conflict in Sudan.
  • Give: Your gift will help provide essential care to hungry children and families.


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