Sudan: Clashes between SAF and RSF - Flash Update No. 14 (28 May 2023)





  • The conflict in Sudan has entered its seventh week, with fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) continuing in multiple locations, despite the ceasefire which went into effect on 22 May.

  • Nearly 1.4 million people have been forced to flee their homes since the conflict started on 15 April 2023 and are now displaced inside and outside the country.

  • Reports of gender-based violence, including sexual violence, are increasing.

  • Humanitarian partners have worked intensively to move relief supplies to the locations where they are most needed but have faced insecurity and transportation challenges.

  • Additional funding is urgently needed to respond to the rising needs and increased cost of operating.


Clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have continued in several locations, including in the capital, Khartoum, Zalingi, Central Darfur, Al Fasher, North Darfur, and Al Obeid, North Kordofan, despite the agreement for a seven-day ceasefire that started on 22 May. Since 15 April, at least 730 people have been killed, and about 5,500 injured across the country, according to the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), as of 23 May. Since the fighting started, eight humanitarian workers have been killed, including one from MSF in Nyala on 20 May and one from World Relief in Zalingi on 22 May, and at least two have been injured. In addition, eight health workers have been killed and 18 injured.

In Zalingi, looting of homes, banks, the University of Zalingi, schools, some government institutions, Zalingi Hospital and humanitarian premises have been reported. Water and electricity services have been disconnected, and telecommunication services have been disrupted. Thousands of civilians have been displaced. With the conflict having last for six weeks, there are growing reports of unexploded ordinances (UXO) in Khartoum and in several other urban areas in Sudan, including in buildings, roads and roadsides, according to the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS).

Nearly 1.4 million people have been forced to flee their homes since 15 April. This includes over 1 million people displaced inside the country by 23 May, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s Displacement Tracking Matrix. Most of the people internally displaced have taken refuge in West Darfur (24 per cent), White Nile (20 per cent), River Nile (16 per cent) and Northern (14 per cent) states. The majority of internally displaced people fled Khartoum (69 per cent). The number of newly internally displaced people in just over five weeks (15 April to 23 May) is comparable to that recorded for all displacement in the country from 2020 to 2022. In addition, about 345,000 people have crossed into neighbouring countries as of 26 May, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The majority of people who crossed the border went to Egypt (126,000 people) followed by South Sudan (71,000), Chad (60,000), Central African Republic (9,700), and Ethiopia (5,000).

There are increasing reports of gender-based violence (GBV), particularly from internally displaced people fleeing from one state to another, as well as an increased number of domestic violence cases, according to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). The UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, has expressed grave concerns about reports of sexual violence against women and girls, including allegations of rape, committed by the parties to the conflict.

At least 38 attacks on health care have been verified by WHO since 15 April, including 22 attacks on health facilities, 12 attacks impacting health personnel, 9 impacting supplies, 6 impacting warehouses, 6 impacting transport and 3 impacting patients. Since the signing of the Jeddah declaration on 11 May, eight new reports of attacks have been verified.

Health-care facilities are running low on medical supplies, and, even when patients manage to make it to a health facility, they may not be able to access the treatment they require. X-Ray films, oxygen cylinders, blood bags and renal dialysis supplies are urgently needed across the country, according to the FMoH. In East Darfur, more than 30 babies have died at a hospital in Ad Du’ayn since the start of the fighting, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), including six new-born babies who reportedly died in one week alone due to problems including lack of oxygen amid electricity blackouts. Across North, South and West Kordofan states, most health facilities are closed, and those that are functioning lack supplies and staff. Health staff have not been paid, and most of them have relocated to safer areas.

The prices of food, fuel and other basic goods are increasing, making critical goods unaffordable for many households, according to FAO’s latest update. Since mid-April, prices of basic commodities including bottled water, food and fuel have increased by 40 to 60 per cent in conflict-affected areas. There are also reports of rapidly rising transport costs, making it difficult for people to leave conflict areas. According to WFP, the price of a local food basket—which in March 2023 was already 28 per cent higher than in March 2022—is expected to increase by a further 25 per cent in the next three to six months if the conflict continues. If this increase in food prices materializes, WFP projects that up to 18 million people will be unable to meet their basic food needs. In South Kordofan, supplies of food are running low in markets and prices have increased five-fold in May compared to April. In South Darfur, where a pact of social acceptance and community compromise to stop the war and restore civility was signed by 80 tribes, most markets and several hospitals have reopened in the state’s capital, Nyala, but banks remain closed.

The conflict risks jeopardizing the imminent planting season for key crops, which would further exacerbate an already dire food security situation. The optimum sowing window for sorghum and millet, for example, is June-July, and it is therefore critical that farmers have access to seeds, as well as to their fields, for planting in the weeks ahead. The agricultural sector contributes about 35 to 40 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of Sudan and employs over 80 per cent of the population, of whom the majority are smallholder farmers, agro-pastoralists and pastoralists.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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