Sudan crisis: What is happening and how is World Vision responding?

May 03, 2023
On April 15, 2023, armed clashes broke out in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. This came after days of increased tension related to a proposed transition to democratic governance.

Since then, violence has escalated causing hundreds of deaths and the spread of armed attacks to other cities.
  1. What is happening in Sudan?
  2. How is the conflict affecting children and their families?
  3. What is World Vision doing?
  4. How can I help?

1. What is happening in Sudan?

The proposed transition to democratic governance is at the root of the most recent conflict in Sudan, as rival factions battle for control of the country, increasing the risk of a nationwide civil war.

Violence continues to escalate in Khartoum and in other parts of the country, putting the lives of thousands of families at risk.

Tens of thousands of people have fled to neighbouring countries such as Egypt, Chad and South Sudan. And the United Nations is warning that another 800,000 could flee as the battle continues.

Critical infrastructure in the country has been destroyed, including schools and hospitals. Hundreds of deaths are being reported, including the deaths of three World Food Programme staff.

World Vision Sudan Director, Emmanuel Isch – a fellow Canadian – describes the urgent situation: “The escalating violence throughout Sudan is very worrying and is putting the lives of innocent civilians, particularly women and children, at risk. Many Sudanese, particularly in Khartoum and South Darfur have been stuck in their homes for days, running out of food and water and facing increased insecurity. We join humanitarian partners and the international community in calling on all parties to the conflict to take all necessary measures to protect civilians, especially children, and ensure their safety.” 

A young boy in Sudan wears a white shirt and sits in a classroom while looking directly at the camera.World Vision is most concerned about women and children in Sudan, since they are the most vulnerable group during any conflict. Photo: World Vision

2. How is the conflict affecting children and their families?

Families are sheltering in their homes from the terrifying violence, amidst worries about whether they will run out of food and water. The situation is dire and desperate.

World Vision is one of the largest humanitarian agencies with a presence in Sudan, and its foremost concern right now is the safety of women and children. Escalated violence like we are seeing in Sudan often forces families to flee, and forced migration often increases gender-based violence.

World Vision is also deeply concerned about access to clean water and food. There are already an estimated 611,000 children who are severely malnourished living in Sudan. Without peace, many more innocent children will go hungry, with devastating consequences.

Before the conflict began, almost 16 million people—about one-third of the country’s population—were already dependent on humanitarian agencies such as World Vision for support and survival. This number includes about four million children under the age of five, who face severe malnutrition due to the ongoing hunger crisis happening across eastern Africa. These already awful numbers are expected to rise if an end to the violence does not happen soon.

3. What is World Vision doing?

World Vision is present and ready to respond as soon as we can.

Due to the current conflict, World Vision has had to make the difficult decision to suspend operations for the safety of our staff.

“Our main concern is for the well-being of affected children and their families in Sudan. However, due to the rising insecurity in the country, including the looting of one of our offices in South Darfur, Nyala, we had to make the difficult decision to temporarily suspend our field operations for the safety of our staff,” Michael Messenger, president and CEO of World Vision Canada, said.

Our 290 national staff are in “hibernation,” as described by World Vision U.S.’ Mark Smith, VP of Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs. Our international staff have been evacuated.

Conversations between World Vision staff and partners is ongoing as the organization determines how to restart operations, while also keeping staff safe.

“We, and other agencies, call on all sides to restore peace or bring in a ceasefire that would allow humanitarian agencies such as World Vision to get out and deliver assistance,” says Emmanuel Isch.

World Vision has been working in Sudan since 1983, closing in 1988 and resuming operations in 2004 in response to the Darfur crisis. Headquartered in Khartoum, World Vision has been able to run relief, recovery and development programs that benefit more than 1.5 million people directly and indirectly, thanks to partnership with the Government of Canada and individual Canadian donors.

More facts about World Vision’s work in Sudan:
  • In 2021, together with Canadians supporters, we helped 479,444 people, including 137,600 girls, 119,100 boys and 222,700 adults.
  • 21,656 people had access to sanitation facilities at home or school.
  • 38,508 children benefitted from community health screenings.
  • 216,655 people benefitted from food assistance.
Learn more about World Vision’s history and work in Sudan.

4. How can I help?

We deeply appreciate your concern and care for the most vulnerable children living in the world’s most dangerous places. What they experience every day is not what childhood should be. Here are some ways you can help:

Where Most Needed – Help children and families who need it most.

Raw Hope – Help children in the world’s most dangerous places survive, recover and build a future.

Global Hunger Response – Help World Vision respond to the global hunger crisis. 


More stories for you

Refugee voices at the table Born from Canada’s inspiring Together for Learning Campaign, the Refugee Education Council (REC) has been a driving force in advocating for quality education for refugees and displaced youth. We are proud to announce our dynamic 2024-2025 cohort—a diverse collective of 12 refugee leaders and advocates from 10 different countries.
The Sudan crisis: One year later It's been one year since violence erupted in Sudan and led to a devastating displacement crisis. Learn all about what's been happening in the region since then.
Three ways toys are making a difference across the world Find out all the ways toys can make a positive change in the lives of children across the world, courtesy of Spinmaster.