On Saturday April 15th, a power struggle broke out between the army and the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF). NCA has been present in Sudan for 50 years with programs in many places in the country. Due to the fighting in the country, we have stopped our operations for the foreseeable future. We are deeply concerned about the Sudanese people, who have suffered for many years.
Heavy attacks: Smoke billows over residential blocks in Khartoum, Sudan, after heavy fighting between Sudan's army and the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Photo: AFP/NTB.
"It shows the danger of moving outside. Several parts of the country are experiencing active conflict situations. We have heard from all our employees, and all are physically unharmed, although people are scared and are experiencing it as a very dramatic situation", says Arne Næss-Holm, Head of International Programmes in NCA.
"The safety of our employees is now our top priority. Our employees have taken cover and we are now following the situation closely to ensure their safety as best as possible, says our country director in Sudan", Dirk Peter Hanekom.
"There are already major humanitarian needs in the country, and this will make it even more difficult. But we cannot work under such circumstances. We will resume work as soon as possible", says Hanekom.
Arne Næss-Holm adds that there are great needs that are not met when humanitarian organizations and the authorities have to stop their work.
"Those who will ultimately be affected by this are the Sudanese people who will once again experience a very uncertain situation", says Næss-Holm.
Our programs in Sudan focus on six themes: gender-based violence, water, sanitation and hygiene, climate-smart agriculture, nutrition and education, health and crisis preparedness and response. The Sudan program is one of NCA's largest.
Sudan's history is full of conflicts, droughts, and famines. But when refugees from neighbouring countries knock on the door, Sudan open the borders. In the 50 years NCA has worked in the country, we have seen how borders are opened for people in need. Ever since 1971, we have been on the ground, mainly in the south of what is today South Sudan, close to conflicts, war, and disasters.
Since then, we have played a key role in humanitarian projects and development in the country. The biggest of these is the response to the crisis in Darfur, which started in 2004 and is still ongoing. The capacity to respond and the results of NCA's work have been recognized from various quarters in Sudan, including donor organizations and embassies.
Collaborating with civil society actors is NCA's primary approach to fulfilling its mandate to strengthen civil society. NCA has established and promoted partnerships with both faith-based and non-religious partners.