Over 1.8 million people are expected to flee war-torn Sudan and $1 billion are needed to meet their needs, the UN refugee agency said on Monday September 4, 2023.
The UNHCR and 64 humanitarian and national civil society organizations appealed for $1 billion “to provide essential aid and protection to over 1.8 million people expected to arrive in five neighboring countries by the end of 2023, fleeing the ongoing conflict in Sudan,” the agency said in a press release.
This represents a twofold rise from the initial May estimate of what would be needed to address the crisis, given the ongoing surge in displacement and requirements, according to the UNHCR. Over a million refugees, returnees, and third-country nationals have already left the country.
“The crisis has triggered an urgent demand for humanitarian assistance, as those arriving in remote border areas find themselves in desperate circumstances due to inadequate services, poor infrastructure, and limited access,” said Mamadou Dian Balde, the UNHCR regional refugee coordinator for the Sudan situation.
“Partners active in this response are making every effort to support those who are arriving and their hosts, but without enough donor resources, these efforts will be severely curtailed,” Balde added.
Critical essentials, the agency said, comprise water, sustenance, lodging, healthcare, financial assistance, fundamental relief equipment, and safeguarding services.
Specifically, the alarming healthcare scenario among newcomers is a growing concern and necessitates immediate action, it warned.
“It is deeply distressing to receive reports of children dying from diseases that are entirely preventable, should partners have had sufficient resources,” Balde said. “Action can no longer be delayed.”
The countries receiving people fleeing Sudan – Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, and South Sudan – were already hosting hundreds of thousands of displaced people prior to this crisis.
Stressing that the countries in the region are facing major challenges of their own and that their hospitality should not be taken for granted, the coordinator urged the international community to stand in solidarity with host governments and communities and address the persistent underfunding of humanitarian operations.
The Sudan Emergency Regional Refugee Response Plan was announced in May 2023 to reflect the significant and continuous rise in external displacement from Sudan. Despite the exponential growth in needs, only 20% of the increased requirements have been obtained, according to the UNHCR.
More than 3,000 civilians have been killed and thousands injured since the outbreak of violence in Sudan in April, according to local medics.
Several cease-fire agreements brokered by Saudi and US mediators between the warring rivals failed to end violence in the country.
According to UN estimates, nearly 4.8 million people have been displaced by the current conflict in Sudan.