World should push for peace in Sudan

Otherwise, we might have another major humanitarian crisis on our hands
Deaths, evacuations amid Sudan fighting

The ongoing conflict in Sudan, which supposedly began between rival factions of its military government on April 15, is becoming increasingly alarming. Fighting began with attacks by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on key government sites. Most of the fighting so far has reportedly taken place in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, and its surrounding areas. In this connection, one of the most concerning factors has been the use of airstrikes, artillery and heavy gunfire. The use of such heavy weaponry automatically increases the risks of casualties on both sides, as well as among the civilian population. Unfortunately, despite calls for and pledges of ceasefire during Eid, there has been no cessation to the hostilities yet.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 400 people have been killed so far due to fighting, with 3,500 more getting injured. There have also been 11 verified attacks on health facilities, which is particularly worrying as the targeting of critical infrastructure indicates that the warring parties are throwing all caution to the wind and taking extreme measures to gain any advantage. Unfortunately, ordinary Sudanese people will be the worst sufferers from this. In fact, the situation may have already turned somewhat critical, as nearly 70 percent of hospitals in the capital and nearby states have been forced to close. Moreover, according to reports, people in Sudan are currently experiencing widespread food, water and electricity shortages. And internet service in the country has also been almost entirely down, making communication with the outside world very difficult.

Amidst such circumstances, a growing list of countries have started to evacuate their diplomats and nationals from Sudan. Governments of the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain have all conducted such evacuations. With desperate calls for rescue by people from other countries, Saudi Arabia was kind enough to evacuate expatriates from a host of countries, including Bangladesh.

With a similar cooperative mindset, the world community needs to urgently come together and help the people of Sudan. Even before the war started, the humanitarian needs of children in the country were high. Around 11.5 million children and community members are in need of emergency water and sanitation services. More than 600,000 children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Therefore, the international community and multilateral organisations must find a way to deliver emergency aid services to the Sudanese people.

Most importantly, the international community needs to bring the warring parties to the negotiation table and facilitate a political settlement to the crisis, while pushing for an urgent ceasefire to prevent any more unnecessary bloodshed. With the growing number of crises that the world is currently experiencing, it can ill-afford another prolonged armed conflict in Sudan. In trying to find a peaceful settlement in Sudan, perhaps the world community can also begin the process of rebuilding bridges that can lead to finding solutions to other ongoing conflicts.


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