By now, we know you’ve seen the news coming out of Sudan. On Saturday, April 15, heavy fighting broke out between two military forces under the command of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (SAF) and General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo (RSF), also known as General Hemeti.
While the fighting started in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital city, it has since spread throughout the country causing food, fuel and water shortages in some areas.
Here’s What’s Happening Now
As we’re writing, at least 512 deaths and more than 4,200 injuries have been reported. These numbers are growing daily.
We’re grateful to report that all of our in-country staff are safe and accounted for. They are sheltering in place and checking in on one another while they wait for the fighting to subside.
At this time, humanitarian activities have been paused to keep staff from World Relief and other NGOs safe. USAID has set up a rapid response team in Nairobi to assess the situation and provide emergency aid to people fleeing into the neighboring countries of Chad and South Sudan.
As you might recall, World Relief recently opened its newest office in Chad. The location of our office there puts us in close proximity to Sudanese refugees who are fleeing. At this time, we do not know if a response in Chad will be possible, but our teams are monitoring the situation and staying open to needs as they arise.
Why is This Happening?
This current conflict can be traced back to April 2019 when Sudanese protestors peacefully took to the streets and removed former President Omar al-Bashir. Following the coup, a military-led council took power, prompting another series of protests which have continued into the present day. We shared more about this in a previous post about some of our world’s most neglected crises.
While the latest conflict is most certainly a setback for Sudan, we remain hopeful and committed to long-term development in Sudan and have a long history of working alongside local partners there. Josh Meares, World Relief Sudan Country Director said:
“We do not know what the future holds for Sudan… It is a nation that deserves better than this, and we have a great staff there who are capable of leading the country into a better future if given the chance. We will continue to stand together with and for the most vulnerable.”
Why Does This Matter to Me and World Relief?
Sudan has long been a crossroads between the Middle East and Africa. Though rich in cultures and resources, decades of colonization, civil conflict and climate disasters have made Sudan one of the most vulnerable countries on earth.
Prior to this most recent conflict, 3 million people were already living as internally displaced in Sudan, and 15 million were at risk of acute food insecurity. The return to conflict is likely to exacerbate an already difficult situation for people experiencing the greatest vulnerability.
World Relief has been on the ground in Sudan, working to address these problems since 2004. Outside the U.S., Sudan is our largest country of operation with more than 345 staff who are committed to building flourishing communities and moving lasting change forward.
In 2022 alone, the team reached more than 533,000 men, women and children in Sudan with life-transforming resources, training and care.
It Matters in the U.S., Too
Not only does World Relief work in Sudan, but we have a rich history of welcoming refugees from Sudan to communities across the United States.
You may remember reading about people like Darelsalam who came to the U.S. when she was 14 years old, or Ibrahim who arrived in North Carolina after being separated from his family for 10 years.
Over the years, World Relief has welcomed more than 2,000 Sudanese refugees to the U.S. — this number includes people from both Sudan and South Sudan, which gained independence in 2011 — and we currently have many Sudanese staff who work across our U.S. offices.
Much like the conflict in Ukraine, our connections in Sudan stretch across oceans, reminding us that the lives we live and the challenges we face are deeply connected and inextricably linked. We are grateful for the ways you have joined us in praying for Sudan and ask you to continue praying in the midst of a situation that is changing daily.
Rachel Clair is a Content Manager at World Relief. Alongside an amazing team of marketing colleagues, she manages the curation and creation of written and multi-media content for World Relief’s global platforms. With more than 10 years of experience creating content for churches and non-profits, she is passionate about developing content that challenges both individuals and communities to lean into all of whom God created them to be. She holds a BFA from Stephens College and is currently participating in a spiritual formation cohort through the Transforming Center in Wheaton, IL.