Sudanese people sit on a bus as they traverse the Nile River on a ferry after crossing the border from Sudan, in Abu Simbel, southern Egypt, in mi-May. The United Nations on Tuesday called on the international community to fund humanitarian aid for the country as the war spirals out of control. File Photo by Khaled Elfiqi/EPA-EFE
Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Global humanitarian leaders have again called on Sudan's warring sides to cease their fighting that they say has engulfed the Northeast African nation, affecting millions.
Sudan has been submerged in four months of bloody fighting that erupted on April 15 between the Sudanese Armed Forces and its breakaway Rapid Support Forces. On Tuesday, leaders of the United Nations' various humanitarian branches called on the two sides to end the conflict while asking the international community to open their wallets and fund aid.
"It is time for a reset," 20 U.N. leaders said in a statement to the Sudaneses people, the warring sides and the international community.
"We call for an immediate cessation of hostilities. The people of Sudan need peace and equitable access to humanitarian relief. And the international community must step up today, engage at all levels and act to put Sudan back on track and end the war."
According to the latest assessment from the U.N.'s International Organization for Migration, more than 4.25 million people have been forced to flee their homes in Sudan because of the fighting, including 3.2 million internally displaced and nearly 1 million who have crossed borders into neighboring countries Egypt, Libya, Chad, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Ethiopia.
The U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization early this month raised a "dire warning" over the nation's escalating food crisis, stating more than 20.3 million people, or 42% of Sudan's population, are experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity -- with more than 6 million of them listed as Phase 4 of its 5-phase system, meaning they are in an emergency.
In the Tuesday statement, the U.N. leaders warned the situation may further deteriorate if something is not done as time is running out for farmers to plant crops and medical supplies were dwindling.
"The situation is spirally out of control," they said.
"Each day the fighting continues, the Sudanese are being robbed of the peace they cherish, the lives they are entitled to and the future they deserve."
The two appeals it has made of the international community for funds are less than 27% met, they said, adding that with the help of world leaders, they could save 19 million Sudanese.
For years, Sudan had teetered on the precipice of war following the ousting of the country's former three-decade dictator government of President Omar al-Bashir in a civilian-backed coup in 2019.
Amid its crawl toward democracy, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the Sudanese Armed Forces, and his deputy, Rapid Support Forces head Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, executed another coup but infighting over control of the government turned into bloodshed this spring.
To the warring sides, the U.N. leaders called on them to end their fight, protect civilians and grant safe and unfettered access.
To the Sudanese civilians, they said the humanitarian community has not forgotten about them and remains committed to supporting them.
"We will continue to push for access to all people and in all areas of Sudan to bring humanitarian supplies and essential services," they said.
The statement came nearly six weeks after U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the conflict was devolving into a full-scale civil war.