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Sudan UN warning over country's aid funding shortfall

Of the $952 million (845 million euros) needed, as of the beginning of August UN aid agencies have managed to raise only $242.6 million.

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UN warning over Sudan aid funding shortfall play

Dockers unload a US aid shipment at Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast, on May 5, 2016 

(AFP Ashraf Shazly)

The United Nations said Wednesday it faces a shortfall of hundreds of millions of dollars for Sudan's 2016 humanitarian needs after it launched a global appeal last month to raise $950 million.

The UN's 2016 humanitarian response plan for Sudan aims to help up to 4.6 million people, including tens of thousands of South Sudanese refugees who fled to Sudan to escape violence and food shortages.

Of the $952 million (845 million euros) needed, as of the beginning of August UN aid agencies have managed to raise only $242.6 million.

"We still are very, very low in terms of the total funding requirement," Marta Ruedas, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator for Sudan, said at a press conference marking World Humanitarian Day.

"There is no doubt that this year we are in a worse situation with regard to the level of funding."

The United Nations and its aid agencies had raised $604.3 million in 2015 for Sudan after a global appeal for $1.04 billion.

Ruedas said Sudan's aid funding was being hit by a number of conflicts worldwide.

"If we do compare it to other global emergencies of a comparable size, we are relatively poorly funded," she said.

Sudan's healthcare sector has been especially impacted this year by low funding.

"The health sector requirement is $60 million, and it is only 13 percent funded so far," Naeema al-Gasseer, World Health Organization representative in Sudan, told AFP.

Ruedas warned that the shortfall could impact the number of people targeted for assistance.

"If we are not able to count on the support of any and all donors to make up that funding, we will have to review our forecast in terms of who we are able to assist," she said.

Officials say Sudan's main humanitarian needs result from fresh displacements, which affect food security.

Food insecurity and the raging conflict in South Sudan has also pushed refugees into Sudan seeking protection and assistance.

The bulk of the funds in 2016 are aimed at meeting the humanitarian needs of people in war-torn Darfur -- a region of the size of France where tens of thousands of people have been killed.

Violence erupted there in 2003 when ethnic minority rebels rose up against President Omar al-Bashir, accusing his Arab-dominated government of marginalising the region.

At least 300,000 people have been killed in the conflict and another 2.5 million have fled their homes, the UN says.

The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Bashir in 2009 and 2010 for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide over the Darfur conflict.

Since 2003 the UN and its aid organisations have contributed about $11 billion to Sudan.

In 2015, 3.3 million people across Sudan received humanitarian assistance.

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