“More than six months since the start of the crisis in Sudan, the humanitarian tragedy in the country continues to unfold unabated,” UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths said in a statement issued on Sunday.
While he welcomed the resumption of the talks and thanked Saudi Arabia for hosting them, Mr. Griffiths underscored the dire situation in Sudan, noting that thousands of people have either been killed or injured.
The United Nations estimates that one in nine people has fled their homes while nearly one-third of the population could soon become food insecure.
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Conflict broke out in Sudan in mid-April, when tensions between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Force erupted into open warfare in the capital, Khartoum, and elsewhere across the east African nation.
In his statement, the UN emergency relief chief went on to say that Sudan’s health system is in tatters, with the specter of disease outbreaks, including cholera, looming. Moreover, a generation of Sudanese children risk missing out on a full education.
Mr. Griffiths stressed that the humanitarian community is doing everything possible to meet these ever-increasing needs.
“Since mid-April, we have provided assistance to 3.6 million people, but this represents only 20 per cent of the people we hope to help,” he pointed out, adding that humanitarian workers “are paralyzed by fighting, insecurity and red tape, making the operating environment in Sudan extremely difficult.”
This is why these Jeddah talks are critical. We need the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces to break the bureaucratic logjam,” he stated.
“We need them to fully adhere to international humanitarian law. We need them to secure safe, sustained and unhindered access to people in need, be it in Darfur, Khartoum or the Kordofans.”
In light of the “colossal humanitarian crisis”, Mr. Griffith said that the UN office he heads up will keep facilitating the humanitarian aspect of these Saudi-hosted negotiations in Jeddah.