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Aid groups hit out at international neglect on Sudan as world leaders gather in Paris to discuss support

AID groups have hit out at international neglect on the situation in Sudan as global leaders gathered in Paris today to discuss support for the country wrecked by war and famine.

Sudan has been in conflict for a year since tensions between the military and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) broke out into open fighting across the country.

Diplomats and aid groups met today to drum up humanitarian support for a United Nations campaign which needs some $2.7 billion (£2.2bn) to get food, healthcare and other essential supplies to 24 million people.

So far, funders have given only about 5 per cent of what is needed, according to the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres urged the international community to donate generously and support the body’s life-saving efforts to help Sudanese people, trapped in the “nightmare of bloodshed.”

More than 14,000 people have been killed and at least 33,000 have been injured in a year-long war.

Nearly 9 million people have been forced to flee their homes either to safer areas inside Sudan or to neighbouring countries, according to the UN.

Hunger and continued displacement are rampant and much of the country’s infrastructure has been reduced to rubble. Reports of mass rapes have also emerged.

“We cannot let this nightmare slide from view,” Mr Guterres said in a video message to the Paris conference.

“It’s time to support the Sudanese people. It’s time to silence the guns.”

Relief workers warn that Sudan is hurtling towards an even larger-scale disaster of starvation, with potential mass death in the coming months.

Food production and distribution networks have broken down and aid agencies are unable to reach the worst-stricken regions.

UN office for Sudan head Justin Brady warned: “This is going to get very ugly very quickly unless we can overcome both the resource challenges and the access challenge.”

The world needs to take fast action to pressure the two sides to stop fighting and raise funds for the UN humanitarian effort, he said.

Doctors Without Borders president Christos Christou said that the “level of international neglect is shocking” in a recent statement.

And Save the Children warned that about 230,000 children, pregnant women and newborn mothers could die of malnutrition in the coming months.

“We are seeing massive hunger, suffering and death. And yet the world looks away,” said Sudan director Arif Noor.

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