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Experts warn that 755,000 people at risk of famine in war-torn Sudan

Sudanese Children suffering from malnutrition are treated at an MSF clinic in Metche Camp, Chad, near the Sudanese border, on April 6, 2024   -  
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Patricia Simon/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.

Sudan war

An open-backed truck packed with people fleeing war in Sudan pulls into a transit center in Renk, South Sudan. The temperature is 40 degrees C (104 degrees F) and not everyone has access to tents to protect them from the heat.

Malnutrition is increasing among children. Alfatih Awad Alkheder, a trader with six children, says his children have stopped growing.

According to a World Food Programme statement, the only border crossing for trucks to bring in food to the North Darfur area is from Tine in Chad, but intensified fighting is making that more difficult.

International experts portrayed a grim picture for war-torn Sudan, warning in a report Thursday that 755-thousand are facing famine in the coming months, amid relentless clashes between rival generals.

The latest findings come from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, or IPC, an initiative first set up in 2004 during the famine in Somalia that now includes more than a dozen U.N. agencies, aid groups, governments and other bodies.

The report said that 8.5 million people are facing extreme food shortages after 14 months of conflict in Sudan.

The northeastern African country descended into chaos in April last year when simmering tensions between the country’s military, led by General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and a notorious paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), commanded by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, exploded into open fighting in the capital, Khartoum, and elsewhere in the country.

The devastating conflict has killed more than 14-thousand people and wounded 33-thousand others, according to the United Nations. Rights activists say the toll could be much higher.

The conflict created the world’s largest displacement crisis with more than 11 million people forced to flee their homes. Human rights experts working for the United Nations said that both warring sides used food and starvation as a war weapon.

Overall, 25.6 million people, more than half of the country’s 47 million population, face “crisis or worse conditions” between June and September. It warned about a risk of famine in 14 areas “if the conflict escalates further, including through increased mobilization of local militias.”

The conflict has been marked by atrocities, which rights groups say amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In recent months, the fighting has expanded to new areas, including agricultural centers such as Jazira province, which the RSF seized last year.