UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- The UN relief chief on Monday called for an end to telecommunications blackouts in Sudan, which block access to essential services and fund transfers and hinder humanitarian aid.
UN Undersecretary-General Martin Griffiths, the relief coordinator, called the blackouts "unacceptable." He urged all involved to restore network access across the war-torn country immediately.
Separately, the director-general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Ghebreyesus, echoed Griffiths in warning the disruptions are "impeding health operations."
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the blackouts come when humanitarian needs in Sudan are at record highs. Nearly 25 million people need humanitarian assistance this year.
"Just last week, we and our partners launched our 2024 Humanitarian Needs and Response Plan to reach some 14.7 million people inside Sudan with life-saving aid and protection services," OCHA said.
A civil war erupted on April 15 last year between two military factions, the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces, in the capital of Khartoum, eventually engulfing several states, including the breadbasket of Sudan, Al Jazirah state, strangling agriculture production.
OCHA said last week an estimated 18 million people were acutely food insecure, 10 million more than last year.
Only last month, the UN's International Organization for Migration said about 9 million people left their homes for safety elsewhere in the country, and an estimated 1.7 million fled to neighboring countries from the conflict, becoming refugees. ■