** Senators highlight dire humanitarian situation as the conflict surges on for a third week**
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent a letter with a group of Senators to the Biden administration formally requesting that they offer all available support for humanitarian efforts in Sudan, as violence between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) continues for a third week. The worsening conditions in Sudan have resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths and have forced hundreds of thousands to flee in search of safety.
The letter is led by U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) and is signed by U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Michael Bennet (D-CO).
In their letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power, the Senators highlighted the continued and indiscriminate violence, which has significantly worsened the humanitarian situation, and disrupted aid operations on the ground. According to the United Nations, even prior to the recent outbreak in violence nearly 16 million people in Sudan were estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance.
“As the violence has escalated, its impact has been far reaching across all sectors of society. Damage to critical civilian infrastructure, including transportation and communication infrastructure, has limited the ability of people and basic goods to move throughout the country; damage to hospitals, depleted resources, and broken medical supply chains have largely degraded the nation’s health care capacity; and continued conflict has left significant portions of the population sheltering in their homes, with dwindling or exhausted supplies of food, water, and medicine,” the Senators wrote. “As the UN’s top humanitarian affairs official said this week, ‘the humanitarian situation is reaching [a] breaking point.’ Unfortunately, this conflict has also deteriorated the flow and delivery of humanitarian assistance into Sudan, and aid groups’ ability to operate on the ground.”
The Senators continued, “[A]s aid organizations work to reestablish operations, it is vital that the U.S. State Department and USAID provide all available support to facilitate ongoing aid operations on the ground, and support a resumption of efforts – whether in Sudan or in neighboring countries – that have been suspended due to the violence. In response to the significant need, and in part to fill in as international organizations have been forced to suspend their operations, a range of local and national Sudanese organizations have stepped forward to provide capacity. We encourage you to use flexibility in supporting these local efforts, in order to best leverage them alongside international efforts.”
A copy of the letter can be found here.