Sudan: Prioritise Re-Establishment of Telecoms Infrastructure

The urgency for the re-establishment of telecommunications infrastructure in Sudan is paramount amidst the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian crisis gripping the nation.

Development Diaries reports that Sudan has become the world’s worst displacement crisis and is on the brink of becoming the world’s worst hunger crisis, according to figures from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also shows that since the crisis in Sudan began in April 2023, approximately 1.4 million people have been forced to flee into five bordering countries, while 5.4 million people have been internally displaced within Sudan.

The ability of people to deal with the consequences of the war and the ability of relief workers to provide necessary services have both been significantly hampered by indiscriminate attacks and telecommunications interruptions by warring sides, with local responders being most negatively impacted.

We understand that targeted attacks on communication infrastructure and the implementation of bureaucratic regulations (such as prohibiting the importation and use of specific satellite internet equipment) have been employed by both sides regularly, having a detrimental effect on civilian populations.

When available, internet connections have played a crucial role in helping people exchange vital and frequently life-saving information, such as routes and safe regions.

Effective communication networks are fundamental to coordinating relief efforts, disseminating vital information, and connecting communities with essential services.

In times of crisis, reliable communication channels can mean the difference between life and death for countless individuals. Also, without access to telecommunications, relief organisations face significant hurdles in delivering aid efficiently, assessing needs accurately, and coordinating rescue operations promptly.

Furthermore, the absence of communication infrastructure worsens the isolation of affected communities, hindering their ability to seek assistance and share critical information about their circumstances.

Beyond immediate humanitarian concerns, the re-establishment of telecommunications infrastructure holds long-term significance for Sudan’s recovery and development. It must be noted that any shutdown of telecommunication services is a violation of human rights.

Development Diaries calls on the government of Sudan and all other stakeholders in the country to prioritise the restoration of uninterrupted provision of telecommunication services in the country.

We also demand that parties to the conflict refrain from attacking, destroying, damaging, or otherwise rendering inoperable telecommunications infrastructure, as they must be considered critical civilian infrastructure

Source: IRC

Photo source: EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid


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