Media Centre - Media release - 21 March 2024

Plan International Australia launches emergency Sudan appeal to help children and families engulfed in “invisible” crisis

Almost a year since conflict engulfed Sudan, almost 25 million people – the equivalent to the entire population of Australia – are still in life-threatening danger and desperate need of humanitarian assistance.

Since April last year, when conflict erupted between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), close to 8 million people have been driven from their homes seeking refuge – the world’s largest internal displacement crisis. Three million of these are children.

The entire population is now facing acute hunger, with five million teetering on the edge of famine. Violence and mass, brutal atrocities such as the rape of adolescent girls and horrific, indiscriminate killings and maiming of civilians, many of them children, have given way to mass graves. Disease is rife. Almost all hospitals are closed, and 19 million children have been denied an education for 11 months.

Ethiopia, Chad, South Sudan, Egypt, and the Central African Republic have taken in refugees but with many of these countries facing their own challenges, resources and funds are limited.

Despite the sheer scale of this catastrophe, the ongoing Sudan crisis is one of the most neglected and underreported crises in history, with little help or funding being directed to its people.

Humanitarian and child’s rights organisation Plan International Australia is extremely concerned for the safety and basic human rights of Sudanese people, and has today launched an emergency appeal to raise urgent, life-saving funds in response to this disaster.

Plan International has been responding to the crisis inside Sudan, as well as in neighbouring countries where families have fled such as Ethiopia, Chad, Egypt and South Sudan, providing vital humanitarian support such as shelter, cash assistance, clean water, food and nutrition support to treat and prevent looming malnutrition, as well as providing child protection, psychosocial support and education.

In Renk, Plan International South Sudan has constructed five temporary shelters and three semi-permanent shelters which, to date, have hosted a total of 22,700 refugees.

This includes 10-year-old Adan, just one of three million children who have been displaced by the crisis. Both of Adan’s parents were killed in the conflict last year; she now lives with her grandmother under a canopy of old clothes and fabric, within a transit centre in neighbouring South Sudan.

“We do not have shelter, we sleep on the floor, on a mat given to us by a neighbour. We do not have any food. We normally beg our food from our neighbours but they also do not have enough. I want the war to stop I can go back home. I used to sleep on a bed, watch cartoons on a tv, but now all these things have changed. It is very difficult here. I miss my life,” she said.

Plan International Australia Deputy CEO Mudasser Siddiqui recently arrived in Australia from Ethiopia, where he led a team supporting Sudanese refugees at the border.

“The humanitarian crisis I witnessed on the Ethiopian border, where thousands of Sudanese people are fleeing, was haunting. Babies too weak to even cry. Adolescent girls who had been subjected to brutal acts of violence. People driven from their homes and lives in a thriving capital city, arriving on a barren border traumatised and with nothing left. And yet it seems like the living hell these people are experiencing is invisible to the rest of the world. Their cries for help seem to be falling on deaf ears,” he said.

“The Sudanese communities I have met have shown immeasurable strength in the face of such horror and hardship, and with their struggles largely unseen by the world, they’ve had to forge their own mutual aid networks, to support those most in need with food, cash, medicine and aid.

“But their efforts can only go so far. A tsunami of aid and support is needed to give the people of Sudan a chance to live their lives freely, safely and with dignity. We are calling on Australians to donate what they can spare to provide life-saving resources such as food, water, shelter, protection for children, especially girls, and psycho-social support.

“The United Nations humanitarian appeal for governments around the world to commit funds to Sudan has only been met with 10% of its target – a fraction of what is needed to respond,” added Mr Siddiqui

“We need all eyes on this invisible humanitarian catastrophe immediately, and we need more funding urgently to give the people of Sudan even a chance to rebuild their lives.”

All donations make an immediate impact, ensuring that vulnerable children and families from Sudan receive the lifesaving assistance they urgently need. Together, we can be the lifeline for those struggling to survive amidst the chaos of conflict. Donate here:


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