Two Catastrophes, No Solutions Yet

Op-Ed by Emily Thompson

So much is happening around the world, but two major crises hold center stage: Gaza and Sudan. In both places, many civilians are being displaced due to war and solutions seem distant.


The current humanitarian crisis taking place in Gaza has many people around the world worried. Numerous demonstrations in support of Palestinians have taken place over the last several weeks and protesters have called for more humanitarian aid and a ceasefire to allow for this aid to reach the Palestinian civilians caught in the crossfire.

Of the 2.3 million Palestinians living in Gaza, approximately 800,000 have fled to the southern region where they are being sheltered in tents and provided care by the UN and the Red Cross.

Their situation is untenable for the long term and talks are already underway in the Gulf region, Egypt, Europe, and the United States over what can be done the day after.

Without a doubt numerous ideas are being bounced around but the common denominator is that the Palestinians – without Hamas ruling over them – can finally take their future into their own hands.

While today, Gaza looks mostly in ruins, with a serious European-type Marshall Plan and billions of dollars in aid, this strip of land could literally become a
paradise. That is, unless the Palestinian Authority which is widely seen as corrupt, takes over.

Steps must be taken to avoid this at all costs. Perhaps there is a way for the international community to step in and take charge until the Palestinians can hold elections and vote in a leader who can and will indeed turn Gaza into a paradise and beacon of hope for the Palestinian people.

With so much to lose, the Palestinians are now on the threshold of a new state – if only they can find the right leader. PA President Mahmoud Abbas is aging, and he is polling in low numbers. Widely unpopular in the West Bank and Gaza, Abbas stands little chance of winning an election – which is why he has not held one
in many years.

Once Israel destroys Hamas, which it has vowed to do repeatedly, the Palestinians will be given the chance to rebuild and return to their homes. But this time, Gaza must be ruled by leaders who care about the Palestinian people and want to see this narrow strip of land full of life and hope – not death and despair.

This dream will rely on cooperation of the Israelis, but it will also require the resolve of the international community to stand by their commitments to assist the Palestinian people.


Fighting has taken place for seven months now between the Arab Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary group, and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), the official army, completely destroying parts of Khartoum, and claiming more than 10,000 lives, according to an Economist report.

The RSF and its allied militias are engaged in an effort to eradicate the non-Arab Masalit tribe from West Darfur, in what many are calling a genocide and ethnic cleansing.

According to the UNHCR, “Within Sudan, 4.5 million people have been internally displaced since April, when the war began, while 1.2 million have fled to neighbouring countries like Chad, Egypt, South Sudan, Ethiopia and the Central African Republic (CAR). The overwhelming majority of the refugees (in some cases, as in the CAR, nearly 90 per cent) are women and children.”

Food aid for more than half a million refugees who have fled from Sudan to Chad “will run out next month without extra funding,” a World Food Programme official said, according to Reuters.

Officially, over 362,000 people have crossed into South Sudan since the start of the conflict in Sudan.

Many tribal leaders and their families are being targeted and RSF fighters have been reported to be moving house to house, killing people one by one.

This continuing and unfolding tragedy requires a solution but as long as Sudan remains in a state of civil war, little can be done for those who remain and even less for those who have been displaced.

For the time being, the UN must focus its efforts on reaching the millions of Sudanese who are in dire need of food, medicine, and shelter.

Both conflicts, in Gaza and Sudan, will need a new set of thinking as well as leadership, in addition to massive amounts of humanitarian aid. This is the moment that human rights groups together with the UN can make a difference.

Image (cropped): Anthony Freda Art

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