UN warns of unprecedented hunger catastrophe in Sudan

Severe food shortages have spread to 14 regions across Sudan, including previously unaffected areas, with over half of the country’s population facing “crisis or worse” conditions, says the United Nations.

Some 8.5 million people in Sudan are now facing extreme food shortages and the situation could lead to famine if the civil escalates, the UN's World Food Programme warned Thursday.

It follows a report from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) initiative, which brings together more than a dozen UN agencies, aid groups, governments and other bodies.

The IPC report, published Thursday, found that 755,000 people were facing the worst level of starvation, known as "phase five", in 10 provinces where the fighting is heaviest.

They include the capital Khartoum, the regions of Darfur and Kordofan, and El Gezira province, which was once dubbed Sudan's breadbasket.

"The conflict has not only triggered mass displacement and disruption of supply routes, market systems and agricultural production, it has also severely limited access to essential humanitarian assistance, exacerbating an already dire situation," the report said.

It has since spread to other parts of the country.

"Our time to act was six months ago – it is unconscionable that there are now more than eight million people on the brink of famine."

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