What situation might be evolving in Sudan and neighbouring countries in the next months?

Humanitarian partners anticipate that the number of internal displacements and mixed cross-border movements, as well as people people in Sudan in need of humanitarian assistance will increase, if the conflict in Sudan doesn't come to a hold. 

More than 1.7 million mixed cross-border movements have already been recorded since 15 April (as of 21 January 2024) and if the fighting continues and basic necessities remain inaccessible, humanitarian partners estimate that cross-border movements and new internal displacements will continue to increase. Earlier projections by IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimated that a total of 1.8 million people could become newly internally displaced within Sudan (IOM, 2023). However, as of 18 January nearly 6.1 million individuals have already become newly displaced within the country since 15 April (IOM, 2024a). Sudan is currently facing the largest internal displacement crisis in the world  (IOM, 2024b)

The conflict in Sudan has also disrupted supply chains and markets, causing a drastic increase in the prices of food and essential commodities compared to before the conflict (Revised HRP, 2023). According to reports, food, petrol, and other basic goods prices are soaring, making crucial goods unaffordable for many people (OCHA, 2023).

The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that 20.3 million people in Sudan - 42 per cent of the population[1] - have been facing high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above) between July and September 2023 (WFP, 2023a). More recent projections estimate that between October 2023 and February 2024, primarily in Greater Darfur, Greater Kordofan, and Khartoum State, 17.7 million people, the highest ever documented number coinciding with Sudan's harvesting season, are expected to experience IPC Phase 3 or above (IPC, 2023). Prices for wheat and sorghum have been rising in Sudan, while food security in neighboring nations, such as the Central African Republic (CAR), is also impacted by the conflict. Traffic between Sudan and CAR has been substantially hampered as a result of border insecurity, resulting in a sharp increase in the price of basic commodities (WFP, 2023b; OCHA, 2023).

Moreover, the prevailing insecurity has had a detrimental impact on livelihoods, resulting in damaged farms and widespread unemployment. This critical situation has compelled pastoralists, agro-pastoralists, and farmers to abandon their crops unless they receive immediate emergency support for their livelihoods (Revised HRP, 2023). These circumstances not only pose a severe threat to food security but also have adverse effects on the overall food availability in Sudan, which could potentially escalate the conflict and trigger more displacement (ibid).

Sudan: Projected Acute Food Insecurity


Source: IPC, 2023.


Due to Sudan‘s high demand for food, water, housing, and other services, together with the country‘s rapid population increase and the ongoing conflict, the natural resources of the nation are put under even more strain (HNO, 2022). The country's susceptibility to droughts and floods, which are anticipated to grow more frequent, is likely to be made worse by the projected temperature increase of up to 3°C by 2050 and the recurrent natural disasters such as riverine and flash floods ever year between June and September (ibid). In 2020, over 800,000 people were affected by the highest floods Sudan had seen in a century. The effects of climate change also make rural groups more vulnerable, including farmers, pastoralists, and others who depend mainly on natural resources for their livelihoods (ibid). Pastoral communities rely on mobility to accommodate the environmental pressures, and restrictions on mobility due to conflict result in sharp increases in livestock prices, economic losses to GDP and corrode resilient livelihoods.

Particularly in conflict-affected and disaster-prone areas, including refugee and IDP camps, gender-based violence (GBV) is considered a life-threatening issue, with a disproportionately negative impact on women, children and people with disabilities. According to the Gender-Based Violence Cluster 3.1 million people[2] in Sudan were expected to be in need of assistance in 2023, mainly women (93%), children (42%) and people with disabilities (15%) (HNO, 2022). Following the escalation of conflict since 15 April, that number has already increased by 1 million, meaning that 4.2 million of people in Sudan are currently at risk of gender-based violence (GBV) (UNFPA, 2023). UN agencies and partners are raising concerns that women and girls “are facing increased risks of life-threatening gender-based violence as protection services are interrupted by the clashes” (UNFPA, 2023; UN WOMEN, 2023). 

Sudan is also facing an education crisis. An estimated 19 million children in Sudan are currently out of school, with about 6.5 million who lost access due to current conflict (Save the Children and Unicef, 2023). 

According to International Monetary Fund (IMF) projections, Sudan's GDP is expected to decline by 18.3 per cent bin 2024 (IMF, 2023).

Additionally, 6,600 suspected cholera cases  have been reported in places like in the country (OCHA, 2024). Sixty to eighty percent of hospitals in areas affected by violence are no longer operational, and about sixty-five percent of the population lacks access to healthcare (ibid).


[1] An estimated 45.7 million people live in Sudan, as of 1 July 2021. Of these, approximately 47 per cent were children (below 18 years of age) and 50 per cent were female (of all ages) (GMDAC analysis of UN DESA, 2022).

[2] 1.1 million vulnerable residents, 1.5 million IDPs, 139,000 refugees, 300,000 returnees (Source: HNO, 2022)