More than 740,000 refugees, including a growing number of refugee returnees, have fled Sudan and arrived to harrowing conditions in neighbouring countries – including Chad, the Central African Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Sudan, “reliefweb” reported on Tuesday.
Additionally, over 185,000 refugees hosted by Sudan have been forced to move to safer areas within the country, becoming trapped in a relentless cycle of displacement.
The escalation of the conflict in Khartoum, and in the Darfur and Kordofan regions, has triggered massive internal displacement, resulting in civilian casualties and deaths. Disturbing reports of grave human rights violations, including sexual violence and other protection risks during flight, are also on the rise.
We are particularly alarmed at a serious health and nutrition crisis unfolding in Sudan’s White Nile State where UNHCR teams on the ground report nearly 300 South Sudanese refugee children dying from suspected measles and malnutrition since the start of the conflict. If the fighting persists, we fear these numbers will continue to increase at an even more alarming rate.
“These figures are staggering; civilians who have nothing to do with this conflict are sadly uprooted from their homes and livelihoods on a daily basis,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
“This has to stop. It is time for all parties to this conflict to immediately end this tragic war. Pending this much needed peaceful dialogue, people must be allowed to leave conflict areas to find safety, whether within or outside the country, and be protected from all forms of violence.”
As more people continue to flee, displacement sites within the country and in neighbouring countries are rapidly becoming overcrowded.
Despite the urgency of the crisis, funding has trickled in. Of the $566 million required by UNHCR and other partners for the Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRP) to provide assistance in countries neighbouring Sudan, only about a quarter (24 per cent) has been received. The inter-agency response inside Sudan is only 23 per cent funded.
UNHCR urgently appeals for more donor support to be able to assist and protect conflict-affected populations. We also reiterate our calls for safe access for humanitarian workers so that lifesaving aid can reach all those in desperate need.
Since fighting broke out in Sudan in April, over 3.3 million people have been displaced within the country and across borders. UNHCR is grateful to neighbouring countries for keeping their borders open for people fleeing the conflict. We continue to call on all States to remove any impediments to entry for civilians fleeing Sudan – including undocumented individuals – so that people can access safety, protection and assistance.
Prior to the crisis, Sudan was home to 1.1 million refugees, mainly from South Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia. Nearly 4 million people were also internally displaced across the country.