The United Nations (UN) has called on all parties to the Sudan conflict to reach a humanitarian pause and to provide unfettered access to the country to avert a hunger catastrophe.

The World Food Programme (WFP) of the UN made the call in a statement by Eddie Rowe, Country Director and Representative of the programme in Sudan.

“Parts of war-ravaged Sudan are at a high risk of slipping into catastrophic hunger conditions by next year’s lean season.

“This will happen if the United Nations WFP is unable to expand access and regularly deliver food assistance to people trapped in conflict hotspots,” it said.

“Sudan is facing a deepening hunger crisis as the conflict raging across the country approaches its eighth month.

“If there is no significant increase in food assistance by the time the lean season arrives next May, conflict hotspots could see the emergence of catastrophic hunger,” it noted.

“We urgently call on all parties to the conflict for a humanitarian pause and unfettered access to avert a hunger catastrophe in the upcoming lean season,” the UN food agency said.

“There are far too many people trapped in areas with active fighting who we can only reach sporadically, if at all,” Rowe was quoted as saying.

Nearly 18 million people across Sudan are facing acute hunger, more than double the number at the same time a year ago, according to the WFP.

The key drivers of the plunge into hunger include intensified conflict and growing inter-communal violence, macroeconomic crisis, soaring prices of food, fuel, and essential goods, and below-average agricultural production, it noted.

Meanwhile, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations on Tuesday sounded the alarm about the escalating food security crisis in Sudan, urging immediate and collective action to avert an impending humanitarian catastrophe.

The ongoing conflict and the escalating violence are deepening the humanitarian crisis and worsening the food security of people in several urban, semi-urban, and rural areas,” the FAO said in a statement on Tuesday.

The FAO further said it urgently needed 75.4 million U.S. dollars to address growing needs, enhance local food production, and improve its accessibility across Sudan.

Sudan has been witnessing deadly clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces in Khartoum and other areas since April 15.

More than 12,000 people have been killed so far in the clashes, while 6.6 million others have been displaced inside and outside Sudan, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. (Xinhua/NAN)

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