More than four million people have been forced to flee their homes since war broke out in Sudan nearly four months ago, the United Nations said Wednesday.

“After sixteen weeks of armed conflict in Sudan, more than 4 million people have been displaced within the country and across borders to neighboring states,” Clementine Kweta-Salami, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in the northeast African state, said.

“Many of those trapped by hostilities are unable – and in some cases deliberately prevented – from seeking safety elsewhere,” Ms Nqueta-Salami said. “And those who manage to escape face other risks: abuse, theft, harassment on the journey to reach safer areas.”

Briefing the UN Security Council, Idem Wasournou, the director of operations of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), highlighted that 1.4 million Sudanese have been forced to flee their homes in less than two months, since 23 June.

“Sudan’s descent into total humanitarian disaster” continues, said Ms. Wasournou, speaking on behalf of Martin Griffiths, the UN’s deputy secretary-general and coordinator of the organization’s emergency relief efforts.

The official reminded that 80% of hospitals in the country have been put out of order and that 14 million children – or half of the children in Sudan – need humanitarian assistance.

The war that broke out in Sudan on April 15 pits the armed forces of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan against the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo. The conflict has claimed the lives of at least 3,900 people, according to the – no doubt underestimated – latest estimate by the non-governmental organization ACLED.

The two generals had advanced together in the 2021 military coup that ended Sudan’s brief democratic hiatus, before they turned enemies.

As mediation efforts appear to be hitting a wall, fighting continues and is centered in the capital Khartoum and its environs and the vast Darfur region (west), already bloodied by civil war in the 2000s.

The warring parties often conduct operations in densely populated areas in the state of about 46 million people, and there are already a mountain of allegations of war crimes.