People fleeing in Sudan

Social situation Basic services not available in all parts of the country

The humanitarian situation in the Sudan is dire and has deteriorated continuously throughout 2020. Sixty per cent of the population are living in extreme poverty; in remote areas such as South Kordofan and Darfur, that proportion rises in some places to almost 90 per cent.

More than 9.6 million Sudanese – almost one in four of the entire population – are suffering from hunger or are threatened by hunger. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have further exacerbated the already strained economic and humanitarian situation.

While Bashir was in power, there was little investment in vital public services. Thus, the health care system lacks staff and equipment, and the country's water supply, sanitation and power supply systems are inadequate. 

Forty per cent of the population are under the age of 15. According to most recent figures, annual population growth stands at around 2.4 per cent. The education system is not able to cope with the rise in numbers of school-aged children; consequently, not even a quarter of all children attend primary school. In many schools, lessons are held only when the parents themselves pay the teaching staff.

More than three million refugees and internally displaced persons

As a result of the armed conflicts raging in some parts of the country, around 2.6 million Sudanese have had to abandon their homes and seek refuge in other parts of the country. More than one million people – mostly from South Sudan, Eritrea and, more recently, Ethiopia – have fled across the border into Sudan, making the country one of the world's main host countries for refugees.

The interim government has announced that it intends to overhaul the country's refugee policy, in order to improve on the policy pursued by the Bashir government. The aim is to include refugees and internally displaced persons in state planning, for instance in the areas of education and health. And they are to be given better access to the job market.

The threat posed by climate change

Periods of drought alternating with flooding mean that, again and again, the people of Sudan experience food shortages. Large swathes of the country are affected by water scarcity and desertification. Yet, in August 2020, the Sudan experienced the highest level of water along the Nile ever recorded. The impact of the flooding affected in excess of one million people directly. Because of the impacts of climate change, competition for water as well as for arable and grazing land is growing – which could potentially lead to new conflicts and displacement flows.