International Donors Pledge $1.5 Billion In Sudan Aid As Fighting Continues

International Donors Pledge $1.5 Billion In Sudan Aid As Fighting Continues

International donors on Monday pledged close to $1.5 billion in humanitarian aid to Sudan and the broader region, responding to a call by the United Nations to boost aid amid a conflict that has forced some 2.2 million people from their homes.

The United Nations said $3 billion was needed this year for humanitarian relief inside Sudan and for refugees fleeing the country, only a fraction of which had been funded.

“I’m pleased to say that today, donors have announced close to $1.5 billion for the humanitarian response to Sudan and the region,” U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths told a fundraising conference hosted by Germany, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt and the United Nations.

“This crisis will require sustained financial support and I hope that we can all keep Sudan at the top of our priorities.”

Germany announced on Monday that it was pledging 200 million euros ($218 million) to Sudan and the region until 2024, the United States pledged $171 million, and Qatar pledged $50 million. The U.N. said it was allocating an additional $22 million to address priority needs.

The war between Sudan’s army and its paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) began in mid-April amid tensions over an internationally-backed plan for a transition towards elections under a civilian government.

It has left more than 3,000 people dead, turned the capital Khartoum into a war zone and triggered deadly violence in the conflict-scarred western region of Darfur as well as other parts of the country.

Monday is the second day of a 72-hour ceasefire brokered by Saudi Arabia and the United States at talks in Jeddah, the latest of a series of truce deals that have allowed for the delivery of some humanitarian aid but have failed to prevent the conflict from intensifying.

Residents in Khartoum say the truce has bought a lull in fighting since Sunday, though looting by RSF forces and armed gangs has spread as battles have subsided.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was especially concerned by ethnic violence in Darfur and reports of gender-based and sexual violence. U.N. human rights chief Volker Turk said his office had received reports of sexual violence against at least 53 women and girls, saying that some 18 to 20 women were raped in a single attack.

Turk said the RSF had been identified as the perpetrator “in almost all cases” and also named them in relation to lootings, large-scale attacks in West Darfur and enforced disappearances, in a speech praised by Khartoum’s envoy to the U.N. in Geneva Hassan Hamid Hassan.

Before the donor conference, a U.N. appeal for $2.57 billion for humanitarian support within Sudan this year was about 17% funded, a U.N. website showed.

More than half of that came from the United States, which USAID chief Samantha Power described as unsustainable.

The European Commission is in second place with about 10% of the total. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were also among the donors, the website showed, but with smaller amounts accounting to less than 1% of the total.

The United Nations has separately appealed for nearly $500 million in aid for refugees fleeing from Sudan, which U.N. refugee agency chief Filippo Grandi said was 15% funded, a situation he called “deeply distressing”.

U.N. aid officials say privately they expect the Gulf region to do more to prop up the global U.N. aid budget, which had already reached record highs of $51.5 billion in 2023 before the Sudan conflict.

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