The Struggle for Aid Access in Sudan Due to Visa Gridlock

Posted on 10 May 2024

In the face of a looming humanitarian crisis in Sudan, international aid organisations are grappling with bureaucratic hurdles that impede their ability to deliver much-needed assistance. Despite the urgent need for food and medical aid for nearly half of Sudan’s population, visa delays continue to stall the efforts of aid groups. The situation is particularly dire as the country teeters on the brink of famine, exacerbated by the ongoing civil war that has already claimed thousands of lives and displaced millions. Anthony Neal, the coordinator of the INGO Forum for Sudan, representing 52 aid groups, expressed frustration over the six-month-long wait for multi-entry visas, emphasising the critical nature of the delay: “We don’t have time for this type of delay, for this bureaucracy. Without substantial change in the posture of the Sudan government, millions of people will die when that could be prevented,” he warned.

The disparity in visa issuance between international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) and United Nations agencies is stark. While staff members from U.N. organisations like the World Food Programme are granted multi-entry visas for a minimum of six months, often extending up to a year, INGOs are struggling with over 100 stalled applications and visas that are limited to a single entry and a two-month duration. This discrepancy not only hinders the continuity of aid efforts but also prevents aid workers from returning to Sudan if they leave during the visa period. The international community, particularly the diplomatic sector, is being urged to address this visa issue more aggressively to avert a catastrophic loss of life in Sudan.
Source: DEVEX

Photo by Oxfam East Africa, via Wikimedia Commons


sudan Aid Humanitarian Crisis