The conflict in Sudan has displaced more than two million people. Photo credit: NRC/Ahmed Omer

By Will Carter

Sudan is in its third month of unrelenting conflict and suffering. The plight of almost three million displaced people steadily worsens. More than half a million of those displaced have fled into neighbouring countries.

They flee from escalating violence, often carrying their possessions in a single plastic bag, for those lucky to do so. I have seen their fear. Newly widowed women and children carrying shrapnel in their bodies, and countless individuals left with nothing.

Refugees from South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Syria are also part of this exodus, all seeking safety again, but finding only the daily horrors of bombings and killings, again.

This heartbreaking narrative is gradually fading from the global conversation, leaving potential solutions unexplored and pushing a brighter future for Sudan further out of reach.

Recently, international news cycles have featured an airstrike-hit restaurant in Ukraine or a looted Apple Store in France.

Whilst the vast markets of Khartoum, an economic heart in one of Africa’s largest countries, lie in rubble and ashes, largely overlooked.

Some of the displaced people left home with nothing. Photo credit: NRC

Homes, hospitals, and warehouses brimming with essential humanitarian aid have been looted across Khartoum, North Kordofan, and Darfur.

Families fleeing from Darfur have been targeted and shot at as they attempted to escape into Chad on foot.

Neglect breeds dire consequences. A recent aid conference for Sudan fell significantly short, raising only half of the needed funds to address this humanitarian catastrophe.

Refugees fleeing in all directions of Sudan receive little or no assistance due to scarce resources and growing bureaucratic obstacles that hinder aid delivery and movement.

As the fighting expands, essential services collapse, the rainy season brings floods and diseases, the spectre of hunger looms larger, and increasingly the situation is left off the newsreel or diplomatic agenda.

There is the need for more support to people affected by the conflict. Photo credit: NRC

Perhaps both the media and the international community are looking for an uplifting story, a glimmer of hope to support, to keep covering the story?

Travelling across the country, I see every single day the bravery and resilience of Sudan's local heroes. If the world is searching for a spark of hope, look no further than Sudan's local heroes.

These brave young volunteers have risen to meet the challenge, embodying the strength of their communities amidst the chaos.

Their inspiring actions compel aid organizations, to not only support them but complement their initiatives to meet escalating needs.

The sheer will and spirit of the younger generation should be a beacon that helps guide Sudan out of this darkness – in both immediate relief, and beyond.

Older wisdom only tells us that we need to avoid the past, at all costs. Right now, the aid response is lurching backwards but needs to slope forwards.

These youth-led relief efforts in Sudan can be boosted, amplified and illuminated with broader support and solidarity.

 The violence in Sudan has turned the lives of many upside down. Photo credit: NRC

Without global interest and public pressure, the situation will inevitably worsen. The region's stability is teetering on the edge, with echoes of the mass atrocities from Darfur's past resurfacing.

Every effort of Sudan's civilian-led relief must be bolstered, all obstacles to humanitarian aid removed, and world leaders must mobilise to halt the bloodshed.

So whilst the news coverage of Sudan may have peaked, the story is far from over. In fact, it can worsen dramatically with increasing humanitarian crisis.

Efforts to end the battle for control of Sudan have not yet yielded the desired result signaling a potential continued displacements both within the country and across its borders.

The world must pay attention to Sudan now more than ever, and support those who can chart a new way forward.

The author, Will Carter, is the Country Director of the Norwegian Refugee Council in Sudan.

Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of TRT Afrika.

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