(Reuters) – Here’s a look at the factors behind the worsening humanitarian situation in Sudan:
Under former President Omar al-Bashir, a brief period of growth ended when oil-rich South Sudan gained independence in 2011. The country began running a large trade deficit, its currency plummeted and commodity prices began to rise. A sharp rise in the price of subsidized bread was the trigger for protests that ultimately brought down Bashir in 2019.
The transitional government that replaced Bashir instituted rapid IMF-monitored reforms. He devalued the currency, reduced subsidies on bread and electricity, and abolished gasoline and diesel subsidies altogether. International lenders and Western states offered aid and debt relief, but froze it after a military coup that toppled the transitional government on October 25, 2021. Inflation, lower in recent month, is still one of the highest rates in the world at over 250%.
Aid groups estimate that 14.3 million people, or a third of the population of around 44 million, will need humanitarian assistance this year, the highest level in a decade, and a increase of more than 50% in two years.
WFP says around 18 million people will face acute levels of food insecurity by September 2022, double last year, due to high prices, a reduced harvest and conflict in the country. some regions.
VIOLENCE AND DISPLACEMENT
Violent unrest has rocked Sudan in its western and southern regions for years, particularly in Darfur, which in the mid-2000s saw conflict between rebel groups and government forces and militias that killed some 300,000 people.
More than 3 million people are currently displaced across the country, according to UN estimates, including around 2.5 million in Darfur.
Aid groups have warned that violent incidents, usually in the form of militia attacks or tribal clashes, have increased in Darfur to levels not seen in years. This violence drove more than 400,000 people, some of whom were already in displacement camps, to flee their homes last year. Aid groups warn that rising poverty and hunger could also fuel conflict.
Sudan is home to 1.1 million refugees, many from South Sudan and Eritrea, as well as more than 50,000 from the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region that erupted in 2020. They are located in camps at the eastern Sudan, a region that has seen a political upsurge. tensions and threats of violence over the past two years.
(Writing by Nafisa Eltahir; Editing by Aidan Lewis and Frances Kerry)