Minnesotans are collecting donations to support relief in Sudan after a year of war left nearly 25 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

The United Nations reports that Sudan is facing the world's worst displacement crisis; more than 8 million people have been displaced by a war between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces that started in April 2023. More than 14,000 people have been killed.

Fighting between the military and Rapid Support Forces began last year amid a transition to elections that followed a military coup in 2021. The continued power struggle prompted the United States to push for peace negotiations and lead an unsuccessful discussion in Saudi Arabia last year.

Roughly 2,800 people in Minnesota reported Sudan as their country of origin, according to the most recent U.S. Census data.

Humanitarian agencies warn of famine in Sudan, noting that more than a third of the country's population faces acute food insecurity, and that more than 3 million children are suffering from malnutrition.

"This has been going on for a year now, and the numbers are scary," said Muna Scekomar, marketing director for the American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa (ARAHA), based in Columbia Heights. "It's bigger than state populations."

Here's how you can help local relief efforts:

ARAHA's on the ground efforts in Sudan

Monetary donations made to ARAHA help fund medical services, meals for displaced people, and essential needs such as feminine hygiene products, beds, and shelter.

Scekomar said there is still an urgent need for donations even though the organization recently saw an influx of help during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which is usually a successful time for fundraising.

"The level of support doesn't match the need currently," Scekomar said. "The more awareness people have, the more we can mobilize people."

ARAHA is working in Sudan and delivered 126 tons of fortified rice to the states of Kassala, Red Sea, and Jazirah between October 2022 and March 2024. The organization recently developed a feeding center in Sudan to address the growing need for food. The center has provided meals to more than 3,500 people.

'Critical and dire situation'

Minnesota-based Alight, formerly the American Refugee Committee, is collecting donations for what the organization calls the world's largest humanitarian crisis.

Out of the more than 8 million people displaced in Sudan, 3 million are children, according to Alight chief executive officer Jocelyn Wyatt.

"This makes Sudan the country with the highest rate of displacement globally," she said. "The needs are increasing in severity. It's a critical and dire situation."

More than 70% of hospitals are not functioning in areas where conflict is high, such as the capital Khartoum and western region of Darfur.

Alight's staff of 1,000 work across the region to provide food, water, health, and protective services to more than 2 million people in Sudan per year. The organization manages 62 health facilities and 900 water pumps in the country.

Alight worked with 61,000 people in Sudan, mostly women and children in March. The organization also provides gender-based violence protection as well as child protection services. Alight is one of the largest humanitarian agencies working on the ground in the region.

Donations can be made at Alight's Emergency Fund. Donors can choose "Events of Sudan Response" in a drop-down menu to specify that their money goes towards relief in Sudan instead of other causes Alight also supports.

More groups providing relief in Sudan

Islamic Relief, a faith-based relief and development agency that operates around the world, is collecting donations through its Sudan Emergency Appeal. The agency has delivered food, hygiene kits and health services to 600,000 people.

Donations can be made on the Islamic Relief website.

The Sudanese American Physicians Association is collecting donations for medical supplies and other relief efforts on the ground. Donations are being accepted on their website.