Fadasi Camp Wad Madani - Al Jazirah state. Sudan, 2024. © Fais Abubakr

Crisis in Sudan

How MSF is responding

On April 15, 2023, intense fighting broke out across Sudan with a wave of gunfire, shelling and airstrikes. 

The violence between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has trapped millions of people in the middle of an unexpected conflict. Many have been forced to flee their homes while access to essential services such as healthcare has become increasingly difficult. 

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams already working in Sudan have been responding to the crisis since its first moments. 

Our healthcare projects and hospitals – in some places the only medical facilities still open – are treating an influx of critical patients: people wounded in the violence, pregnant women in labour and chronically ill people with nowhere else to go. 

Overworked Sudanese healthcare workers, many unpaid for months, strive to provide care amid immense challenges. Immediate action and increased support are crucial for displaced populations and the strained healthcare system. 

The situation is extremely fast-moving. The information below is correct as of Feb. 24, 2024.

Data about displaced groups

  • Over 7.9 million people forcibly displaced since April 2023 (UNHCR)  
  • 10.7 million people displaced if we count the 3.8 million who were displaced before the war started in April 2023
  • Over six million people have been internally displaced since April 2023 (UNHCR)  
  • Around 1.72 million people have crossed the borders to neighbouring countries since April 2023 (UNHCR)
  • Chad, Egypt and South Sudan are receiving most of the returnees, asylum seekers and newly arrived refugees from Sudan (UNHCR) 
Since the resumption of the conflict in Sudan, around 30,000 people have fled to Chad according to the UNHCR. Chad, 2023. © MSF

What is MSF doing? 

MSF teams continue to see immense humanitarian needs in Sudan as well as in neighbouring countries where people have fled in search of safety. More than 900 Sudanese staff and approximately 90 internationally hired staff are working as part of our response.

In Sudan 

As of February 2024, MSF teams work in 11 states in Sudan: Khartoum, Gezira, White Nile, al Qadarif, Kassala, West Darfur, North Darfur, Central Darfur, South Darfur, Red Sea and Blue Nile. 

Our work includes: 

  • providing emergency treatment 
  • carrying out surgery 
  • running mobile clinics for displaced people 
  • treating communicable and non-communicable diseases 
  • providing maternal and pediatric healthcare, including safe deliveries 
  • offering mental health support 
  • providing care for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence 
  • offering sexual and reproductive healthcare 
  • providing water and sanitation services 
  • donating medicines and medical supplies to healthcare facilities 
  • providing incentive pay, training and logistical support to Ministry of Health staff 

Between April 15, 2023 and Jan. 31, 2024, MSF teams:

MSF also continues some of its medical activities that were in place before the start of the war.

In South Sudan 

Since the beginning of the war in Sudan in April, more than 540,000 people have crossed into South Sudan to seek refuge, both Sudanese as well as South Sudanese who had previously fled into Sudan during the civil war in South Sudan which ended in 2021. 

MSF continues to offer medical humanitarian support to people in camps in Renk, Bulukat and Wedweil.  

From July 27 to Aug. 17, 2023, MSF provided emergency support in Upper Nile State for South Sudanese returnees from Sudan. This included providing 1,937 medical consultations, containing a measles outbreak and treating severe malnutrition cases. They also distributed non-food items to 1,381 households, aiming to provide temporary relief until other humanitarian organizations could establish more permanent solutions.  

In Chad 

Since the war broke out on April 15, 2024, an estimated 682,000 displaced refugees and returnees have crossed the border to Chad. Refugees and returnees from Sudan are now living in multiple camps in Chad and face difficulties to secure even the most basic needs.  

MSF teams are responding to this crisis through their work in five different locations in eastern Chad: Adré, Ourang, Metche, Alacha as well as Deguessa and Goz-Aschiye. 

Can I donate to support MSF’s work?

Please consider giving an unrestricted donation, which will give our medical teams across the world the flexibility to respond as people’s emergency needs arise.


The crisis explained 

Following a military coup in 2021, most international assistance to Sudan was frozen. This led to an economic crisis and increased food insecurity. 

Sudan’s healthcare system was also extremely fragile even before the recent escalation in violence and access to basic medical services has been a challenge for most people. 

This critical situation has been caused by a combination of recurring violence and conflict, the economic situation and the cost of healthcare, and an overall lack of medical staff and resources.

On May 5, MSF donated medical supplies & hygiene materials to Al Kamlin Teaching Hospital. Sudan, 2023. © MSF

Added to this, the sharp decline in international assistance has had consequences including reduced vaccination coverage and increased malnutrition among children. 

Before the conflict, around 78,000 children under five were dying each year due to preventable causes such as malaria. Since April 15, around 50,000 children with accurate malnutrition have had their treatment disrupted. 

Access to pregnancy and childbirth care is another vulnerable area – Sudan already had a high maternal mortality rate, with around 25 per cent of births unattended by a skilled healthcare professional. At the start of the conflict, it was estimated that there were 219,000 pregnant women in Khartoum alone, with 24,000 due to give birth. 

The stark reality is that Sudan’s healthcare system has been on the verge of collapse for decades. However, with the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian and security situation, low-running supplies and under-pressure staff, it is now at breaking point.

MSF in Sudan

MSF staff carry out a vaccination campaign to protect children against measles in temporary camps set up at the border for Sudanese refugees. Chad, 2023. © MSF

MSF has been working in Sudan since 1979. We have been providing medical assistance throughout the civil war that led to the separation with South Sudan in 2011, and the decade-long conflict in the Darfur region. 

Before the recent escalation in violence on April 15, 2023, we were running 11 medical projects across 12 states. This included 24 healthcare facilities, from mobile clinics to hospitals. 

In 2022, MSF teams in Sudan held 449,654 outpatient consultations, admitted 21,664 people to hospital, treated 5,621 children for malnutrition and assisted in 2,791 deliveries.

MSF in conflicts

Around one-quarter of our medical humanitarian assistance is for people caught in armed conflict. 

Armed conflict devastates lives and destroys communities. Targeted, harassed and caught in hardship and poverty, people are forced into flight or to live under siege and face indiscriminate attacks. Access to basic needs such as food and medical care is often disrupted. 

Comprehensive medical and humanitarian support is vital, though health services are often scarce. MSF provides medical care based on needs alone and work hard to reach people who need help the most. 

Around one-quarter of our projects are dedicated to assisting people living in areas of war and armed conflict including Yemen, South Sudan, Nigeria, Iraq and Syria among many others.