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Sudan alert: Flooding and surging inflation threaten humanitarian assistance

Catastrophic floodingandrising foodand healthcostsin Sudan,havedriven upthe number of people in need, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Friday.

Authoritiesdeclared a three-month state of emergencyinearlySeptemberafter the worst flooding in30 years.

To date, more than 860,000 people havehadhouses destroyed or damaged and more than 120 people have died.

Some 560 schools andthousands ofhealth facilities have also been affected,compromising essential services to communities,especially in North Darfur, Khartoum, West Darfur andSennar, which account for 52 per cent of all people affected

400,000reachedand counting

The response by UNagenciesand partners has reached more than 400,000 peopleso far, includingemergency shelter and essential householditems reliefto over 181,000 flood-affected refugees,1.87 millioninternally displaced people and Sudaneseacrossthe country.

Meanwhile,COVID-19virustransmissionhascontinued, with13,653 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 836 deaths, accordingofficial data from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Amid growing needs,surging inflation–reachingnearly 170 percentin August -has caused a shortage of basic commoditiesand increasedprices ofsomelocallysourcedsupplies by 300 to 400 per cent.

"In some cases, by the time the procurement process is finalized, the supplies have increased prices, so that the original budgets are no longer valid",saidOCHAspokesperson Jens Laerke.

He explained that this meant the purchasing process had to begin again and "there is no guarantee that by the time that that process is done, that the prices will not have risen once again".

Healthcare costs have also increased by up to 90 per cent, OCHA Sudansaid in a recenttweet.

In Geneva,Mr. Laerke notedthat theprice of an average family food basket had increased by over 200 percent since last year,based onWorld FoodProgramme(WFP) data,increasing pressure onalready dramatic levels of food insecurity across Sudan, where 9.6 million people are described as"severely"in need.

Cash shortfalls

Inflation has also affected the UN's humanitarian partners which provide cash support to vulnerable families, asthey areconstantlyhaving toadjust the amounts transferred,Mr.Laerke said.

Even with these adjustments, many families are no longer able to purchase what they need with the cash received.

Today, only one in four families who previously relied on outside assistance now receivesit, the OCHA spokespersonsaid.

Crop failure

Anotherconcern in Sudanisthatlargeareasof farmlandare under water orruinedjust before harvest.

"Most families in Sudan already spent around 65 per cent of their income on food, so these price hikes lead to increased hunger and less education, health and other services that families de-prioritize as they try to cope with the economic hardship",Mr.Laerkeexplained.


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