Rising hunger looms in Sudan, with little aid in sight

Following is an outline of the factors behind Sudan's worsening humanitarian situation:

ECONOMIC SWINGS

Under former President Omar al-Bashir, a brief period of growth came to an end when oil-rich South Sudan gained independence in 2011. The country began running a large trade deficit, its currency plummeted, and prices of basic goods began rising. A sharp price increase for subsidised bread was a trigger for protests that eventually brought Bashir down in 2019.

The transitional government that replaced Bashir instituted rapid IMF-monitored reforms. It devalued the currency, lowered subsidies on bread and electricity and removed subsidies altogether on petrol and diesel. International lenders and Western states offered assistance and debt relief, but froze it after a military coup that overthrew the transitional government on Oct. 25, 2021. Inflation, lower in recent months, is still one of the highest rates in the world at more than 250%.

POVERTY LEVELS

Aid groups estimate that 14.3 million, or a third of the population of around 44 million, will need humanitarian aid this year, the highest level in the past decade, and an increase of more than 50% in two years.

The WFP says that about 18 million people will face acute levels of food insecurity by September 2022, double last year, due to high prices, a reduced harvest, and conflict in some regions.