Caritas Australia echoes calls for more Sudan funding as a year of conflict passes

Dignity kits distribution by CAFOD in Sudan. Photo CAFOD

A year ago today, civil conflict broke out between armed militias in Sudan. In that year around 13,900 people have lost their lives with over 8 million people displaced.  About half of the population – 25 million people including 14 million children – now need humanitarian aid and protection assistance.   

The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) has called on the Australian Government to provide $50 million in new and additional funding to the humanitarian catastrophe occurring in Sudan and the region. 

In a release ACFID noted that “Australia’s peers have recognised the urgency and scale of this crisis. The European Union, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany having all committed more than $160m each to the Sudan response, compared to Australia’s $20.45 million to date.” 

In a recent statement the Sudan Catholic Bishops Conference also raised concerns “the international community has forgotten the Sudan crisis”. 

Since conflict broke out Caritas partners on the ground have been working to support displaced people and their host communities with food and multipurpose cash assistance, shelter, psychosocial support, hygiene services, and gender-based violence protection.    

Humanitarian responses in the region are also reliant on partnerships in neighbouring countries. When the war broke out, our Caritas partner in Chad was one of the only humanitarian organisations active in the remote area of Andressa along the border of Sudan. Another Caritas local partner was the only South Sudanese organisation working in a Transit Camp on the border in Renk.  

As late as the end of last year, they reported 4,200 refugees were arriving there each day, around 90% of them women and girls. The number of people in need of gender-based violence services in Sudan has also increased by over 1 million to 4.2 million people - this number is expected to increase to 6.9 million in 2024.  

Kirsty Robertson, CEO of Caritas Australia said, “the outlook is dire for displaced people in and around Sudan, especially women and girls. As such, we continue to call on our government to undertake diplomatic action to improve aid access through agreed humanitarian corridors or a ceasefire.  

“We do take solace in the breadth of our partner network in the region, many of whom have years if not decades of experience there. Their tireless work ensures the generosity of our supporters here in Australia is felt by the people across the region.”  

On the 19th of March Kirsty Roberston, CEO of Caritas Australia spoke at an event on the Sudan Crisis at Parliament House, hosted by the Sudanese Australian Advocacy Network (SAAN).