UN says 5 million at risk of starvation in Sudan

The United Nations appealed Friday for Sudan's battling factions to allow delivery of humanitarian relief to fend off looming "catastrophic" hunger.

Some five million Sudanese could face calamitous food insecurity in coming months as a nearly yearlong war between rival generals continues to tear the country apart, according to a UN document seen Friday by AFP.

The war between army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, has since April last year killed tens of thousands, destroyed infrastructure and crippled the economy.

It has also triggered a dire humanitarian crisis and acute food shortages, with the country teetering on the brink of famine.

Noting that some 18 million Sudanese are already facing acute food insecurity -- a record during harvest season -- UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths warned in a letter to the Security Council that "almost 5 million people could slip into catastrophic food insecurity in some parts of the country in the coming months."

He noted that nearly 730,000 Sudanese children -- including more than 240,000 in Darfur -- are thought to suffer from "severe" malnutrition.

"Aid organisations require safe, rapid, sustained and unimpeded access -- including across conflict lines within Sudan," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres's spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

"A massive mobilisation of resources from the international community is also critical," he added.

The UN's World Food Programme has warned that the war risks "triggering the world's largest hunger crisis."


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