1.8 million residents and internally displaced people encircled and at imminent risk of famine in Darfur’s besieged capital, El Fasher - GOAL Global Skip to content

1.8 million residents and internally displaced people encircled and at imminent risk of famine in Darfur’s besieged capital, El Fasher


May 22, 2024 • 3 min read

Reports of disastrous humanitarian consequences are unfolding.


Sudan faces an impending humanitarian catastrophe as the intense tribal conflict escalates around El Fasher, the capital city of North Darfur. Hundreds of thousands of displaced people are sheltering in El Fasher without basic supplies amid fears that nearby fighting will turn into a massively destructive battle for the city. Over the last few days, there has also been indiscriminate shelling and airstrikes inside El Fasher, hitting market areas, the University, as well as Abu Shouk camp for displaced people, killing and injuring hundreds. And the current suffering extends beyond the violence, with hundreds succumbing to acute malnutrition, and pollution from shelling affecting the camp’s inhabitants.

El Fasher has long been considered a humanitarian hub for Darfur and already hosts a large population of internally displaced people, including hundreds of thousands displaced by ethnic violence in Darfur over the past 20 years.

Recent Developments

Last week, a 216-page report by Human Rights Watch revealed disturbing evidence suggesting a genocide may have occurred in El Geneina, Darfur, alongside reports of ethnic cleansing. According to the report, members of African ethnic groups were targeted and killed in door-to-door raids and during attempts to escape the city.

Alarming Facts

The impact of the current crisis is staggering:

  • Fatalities: Since the conflict broke out in April 2023, more than 14,790 lives have been lost.
  • Displacement: 6.8 million people have been internally displaced in Sudan since the conflict erupted in April 2023.
  • Refugees: 2 million people have crossed borders from Sudan into neighbouring countries since April 2023.
  • Humanitarian assistance: 24.8 million people need assistance.
  • Food Insecurity: 18 million people in Sudan currently face acute food insecurity, with five million at risk of starvation.
  • Child Malnutrition: Almost four million children under five suffer from acute malnutrition, with 730,000 facing life-threatening severe acute malnutrition.
  • Education Crisis: Of Sudan’s 19 million school-age children, 90% have no access to formal education, creating a generational crisis.

Speaking about the dire situation in El Fasher and immediate attention and action required from the international community, John Rynne, GOAL Regional Director, Africa, said:

“Urgent support is needed to alleviate the suffering of civilians trapped in El Fasher and surrounding areas. All parties involved in the conflict should immediately declare a permanent ceasefire and the cessation of hostilities will allow humanitarian organisations to reach vulnerable communities without fear of violence. Immediate measures are also needed to address acute malnutrition. Supplies must be allowed in for nutritional programs, therapeutic feeding centres, and supplementary food distribution, and aid organisations must be allowed to safely operate.”

“Women, children, and the elderly are bearing brunt of this conflict. We call for their protection from violence, exploitation, and abuse and traumatised children and adults need access to counselling and psychosocial services. War leaves scars beyond the physical; healing hearts and minds is essential,” continued John Rynne.

GOAL in Sudan

GOAL has been responding to humanitarian and development needs in Sudan since 1985 and today operates in North Darfur and South Kordofan. Our team provides lifesaving assistance in nutrition, health, water, and sanitation, as well as supporting basic needs for conflict-affected populations in hard-to-reach areas of Sudan. Women’s empowerment and protection are mainstreamed throughout our work. GOAL focuses on improving access to comprehensive primary healthcare services, strengthening health systems, providing nutrition screening and care, and enhancing sustainable livelihoods for communities in Sudan.

GOAL is active and operational even amid the conflict and currently has 180 staff working in North Darfur and South Kordofan, including inside El Fasher where we are working to continue humanitarian responses as much as possible.

Learn more about GOAL’s work in Sudan.