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Conflict and high prices drive widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes in July

  • Key Message Update
  • Sudan
  • July 2023
Conflict and high prices drive widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes in July

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Over 100 days of conflict in Sudan has led to rapid deterioration in food security conditions, with widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes and increasing number of households facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes at the peak of the lean season (July-August) in major urban areas across Khartoum, Greater Darfur, and Greater Kordofan states. Of highest concern remains El Geneina and surrounding towns in West Darfur where the ethnically based violence is severely undermining household mobility and capacity to engage in livelihood activities or access adequate food and income sources. Based on outcomes from a Household Economy Analysis, interviews with refugees in Chad, and key informant reports of severe outcomes emerging, FEWS NET assesses that some households are likely in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) in July in parts of West Darfur. In Khartoum, an increasing proportion of households are facing large food consumption gaps indicative of Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes, although not anticipated to surpass 20 percent of the population required for area-level classification given the concentration of fighting in near-empty downtown areas and resumption of limited income activities, food production, and market functionality in more peripheral areas.

    • The conflict between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) continued unabated in July with no progress on negotiations despite regional efforts. Fighting is focused on urban areas, with the most intense fighting and shelling in July reported in downtown Khartoum, Bahri, and Omdurman localities in Khartoum. Clashes also continued in the major urban centers of Greater Darfur and Greater Kordofan, including El Geneina in West Darfur, Nyala in South Darfur, Zalingei in Central Darfur, El Fasher in North Darfur, El Obeid in North Kordofan, with expansion into additional towns in West Darfur (Sirba and Misterei), South Darfur (Katila), North Kordofan (Al Rahad and Um Rawaba localities), and along the El Obeid-Khartoum highway. In South Kordofan, clashes were also reported between SAF and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North-Al Hilu (SPLM-N/AH) in and around Kadugli. The fighting remains characterized by large-scale looting, burning of markets and houses, occupation and destruction of public institutions and private residences, and has led to the near-collapse of health, education, transportation, and banking systems in conflict-affected areas, most notably Khartoum.

    • As of the end of July, internal displacement due to the conflict reached just over 3 million people with an additional 930,000 displaced to neighboring countries. The rate of displacement continues to be staggering, with nearly 1 million displaced internally in July alone. The majority of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) come from Khartoum, representing more than 70 percent of the total displaced since the start of the conflict, followed by 28 percent displaced from the Darfur region. The highest caseloads of IDPs have been reported residing in River Nile and Northern, followed by North Darfur and White Nile states. With displaced populations mostly living within host communities, the pressure on available food and income resources is increasing particularly as many household stocks have depleted with the onset of the lean season.

    • The price trends for key staple foods remain varied across main markets in Sudan. The largest increases are in the markets across Greater Darfur and Greater Kordofan with relatively stability persisting in markets in the east of the country. This divergence is driven by the continued disruptions to trade flow along key corridors and in market functionality in conflict-affected areas. Between June and July, the retail prices of sorghum, millet, and locally produced wheat increased seasonally by 5-15 percent across most markets in the conflict-affected areas of Greater Darfur and Greater Kordofan, as well as in Blue Nile. Compared to March, the sorghum and millet prices in July had increased 50- 60 percent and 5-25 percent in El Fasher and El Obeid markets, respectively. These increases build on already very high prices that are, on average, 100 to 150 percent higher than the same time last year (July 2022) and 250-500 percent higher than the five-year average. Prices are expected to continue to increase over the remainder of the lean season (through September) most markedly in the west of the country due to disrupted trade leading to sporadic deliveries and limiting quantity and variety in functioning markets. While some improvement is expected with the arrival of the harvests, prices are nonetheless expected to remain higher than normal for a post-harvest period given the anticipated below-average harvest and continued conflict-driven trade and market disruption.

    • The progress of the rainy season has been mixed across the country. According to CHIRPS satellite data in parts of the southeast and along the southern border areas, the start of the rainy season was delayed by about 10 days with the same areas receiving cumulatively below-average rainfall as of the end of July, with poor performance particularly in July. By contrast, much of the center and west of the country saw an early start to the rainy season of about 10-20 days, followed by above-average rainfall throughout June and July. The divergent progress has been broadly reflected in the satellite-derived eVIIRS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), which indicates above-average vegetative health (130-140 percent of 2012- 2021 mean values) in some parts of eastern and central Sudan compared to 70-90 percent of mean vegetative health over large parts of southeastern Sudan, a typically highly productive area under semi-mechanized and irrigated systems. However, above-average vegetative health in western areas, particularly heavily conflict-affected parts of West, Central, and South Darfur, is likely also capturing growth of non-crop vegetation given conflict-driven restrictions on cultivation. Similarly, the extent of below-average vegetative health in the southeast of the country has likely been exacerbated by delayed and below-average cultivation resulting from conflict-related disruptions to inputs, as well as above-normal temperatures, and poor distribution of rainfall. The forecasted near-average performance of rains in August and September is expected to improve conditions, although harvest is expected to remain overall below average.

    • Amidst the continued crisis, humanitarian assistance remains limited and exceedingly challenging given insecurity, bureaucratic challenges, looting, risks of divergence, and seasonal barriers to delivery. By the end of July, WFP reported providing assistance to over 1.5 million people. Access to West Darfur had particularly difficult, although plans were in place by the end of July to aid across the Chad-Darfur border in early August, which would be the first delivery since the start of the conflict. In addition, humanitarian partners continue to work to establish cross-country corridors to enable the delivery of assistance in other parts of Greater Kordofan and Greater Darfur. WFP plans to scale up assistance to reach 6.3 million people in need in Sudan by the end of the year.  

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Sudan Key Message Update July 2023: Conflict and high prices drive widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse outcomes in July, 2023.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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