The grim ‘watch list’ for next year has a little-noticed lead item

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL December 31, 2023

If you go by the humanitarians, 2024 will be hell…for so many. In the International Rescue Committee (IRC) annual “emergency watch list”, the ongoing horrors are ranked as follows:

Gaza, at number 2.

Sudan, in first place.

There is a deadly logic in this. Our hearts hurt to think of the enormous suffering of Gaza’s people, nearly three months after Israel began their collective punishment in revenge for the brutalities wreaked by Hamas. However, the civil war in Sudan remains equally urgent and equally horrific.

It’s been eight months since fighting started between Sudan’s military and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. Now, more than half the country is in need of humanitarian aid; some 6 million people have been displaced from their homes and nearly 20 million children are out of school.

Conflict has a way of turning life on its head – turning life it into a non-life. As the IRC writes: “Sudan has become the world’s largest displacement crisis. The ability to deliver aid is hindered by the lack of humanitarian access and funds. The ethnic, tribal and regional polarisation of the current war is further threatening the limited access currently available.”

That Sudan is number 1 on the IRC’s 10 “watch list” nations is a painful reminder of the horrific conflict that’s ticking away almost unnoticed.

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