A top UN humanitarian official said on Saturday Sudan has a historic opportunity to overcome years of bloody conflict and instability, but needs urgent international help.
Mark Lowcock, the UN undersecretary general and emergency relief coordinator, spoke during his first visit to Sudan since the formation of a transitional government in August 2019.
The government replaced former President Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted by the military in April amid mass protests.
Lowcock told The Associated Press on Saturday he’s “hopeful that further progress can be made on peace” with rebels in the country’s restive southern provinces, where fighting has displaced 1.9 million people.
He also warned that Sudan faces stiff challenges, including economic collapse, malnutrition and disease.
Lowcock appealed to the international community to “provide more help faster” to support the new government’s efforts.
"It is a crucial time for Sudan and we must make sure that people have their most basic needs met. The international community needs urgently to step up its support," he stated.
During his visit, Lowcock met local communities who have been affected by recent economic and climate shocks and recurrent disease outbreaks.
"The economic crisis has a very direct impact on ordinary people’s lives, particularly for women and girls. They live in an area with ongoing dengue and malaria outbreaks, yet cannot afford to pay for medicines. And recurrent droughts and floods means that they cannot grow enough food."
The humanitarian chief concluded his visit by stressing how fragile the situation is.
“More and faster humanitarian assistance is essential to ensure earlier progress is made in meeting the reasonable aspirations of the people of Sudan."