Sudan crisis: Major influx of refugees, dire humanitarian situation

Yasmine Osama Farag , Wednesday 12 Jul 2023

The conflict in Sudan has displaced nearly 3 million people since 15 April 2023, with almost 700,000 seeking safety in neighbouring countries, according to recent figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix.

sudan
Sudanese continues to flee the country as fighting intensifies. AFP

 

This number is worrying to Sudan's neighbouring countries as they prepare to meet in Cairo on Thursday to discuss the growing refugee crisis and its impact on the region.

Egypt has the highest number followed by Chad, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and the Central African Republic (CAR).

In his World Refugee Day statement, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, emphasized the significance of acknowledging the challenges that host countries encounter. Grandi cited the neighbouring countries of Sudan as an example of solidarity, where border communities receive and offer shelter to refugees fleeing violence.

As violence spreads and the number of displaced people increases, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is concerned about the growing humanitarian needs of those affected by the crisis in Sudan. The UNHCR is alarmed by the inadequate delivery of aid due to insecurity, lack of access, and insufficient funding.

Around two-thirds of the arrivals monitored in those countries were Sudanese nationals, while the remaining one-third were foreign nationals and returnees, according to the monitoring data.

On 4 July, an IOM assessment of Sudan's status revealed details about the number and location of Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries, as follows:

Egypt

In late June, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry stated that Egypt has received over 250,000 Sudanese, which accounts for about 60 percent of the total number of Sudanese who have fled their country. Furthermore, there were already five million Sudanese living in Egypt.

Additionally, Shoukry's remarks indicated that Egypt has offered approximately 300 tons of essential medical and food aid to those escaping the violence, and has helped evacuate roughly 10,000 foreign workers employed by diplomatic missions and international organizations.

Hundreds of tons of medical and relief aid have been provided to Sudan through Port Sudan, and tens of tons of international humanitarian aid have been transported to the country with Egypt's help.

At the border crossings, the Egyptian Red Crescent (ERC) has established a humanitarian centre, while the Egyptian authorities have deployed 15 mobile clinics, several fixed clinics and pharmacies, and 12 medical convoys at the Egyptian-Sudanese border crossings.

South Sudan

In South Sudan, 146,734 people have arrived, but limited infrastructure and security concerns are making it challenging to transport new refugees. The required aid will mostly have to be flown, which is both costly and complex. Furthermore, moving refugees to existing or newly established camps is becoming increasingly difficult as the rainy season approaches.

The Sudan crisis has resulted in a variety of ripple effects, including the implementation of the 2018 Revitalized Peace Agreement in South Sudan and the holding of elections late next year, according to Nicholas Haysom, head of the UN mission in South Sudan.

The conflict across the northern border has strained the government's capacity to receive thousands of people fleeing violence and could potentially cripple the economy.

Chad

Since the beginning of the crisis in Sudan, 217,839 individuals have sought refuge in Chad. In mid-June, approximately 15,000 new refugees, including vulnerable groups such as women, unaccompanied and separated children, and injured individuals, arrived in the Ouaddaï province. Among these new arrivals, the UNHCR has registered 3,765 so far.

Although the UN has started moving thousands of Sudanese refugees to a camp 130 kilometres away, more people continue to arrive in Goungour due to the intensification of fighting in West Darfur. Chad, which previously hosted 580,000 refugees of various nationalities, currently has a low ranking on the UN's Human Development Index.

Ethiopia

Since the start of the crisis in Sudan, 58,873 people have crossed into Ethiopia through the border town of Metema in the Amhara region. Due to the high number of arrivals, facilities and transit sites in the area are overcrowded. Ethiopia is also facing its own conflict between government forces and Tigrayan rebels, which has impacted aid delivery to refugees.

Recently, the World Food Programme reduced rations for refugees in the country by 40 percent. The UN is planning to provide monthly rations to the new arrivals, but more funding is needed to do so.

CAR

The CAR has received 15,335 individuals from Sudan, the majority of whom (95 percent) are women and children. Upon arrival, they stayed with host families or in makeshift shelters and schools in the AmDafock, Vakaga region.

The relocation of assisted refugees has been temporarily paused due to the impassable roads caused by the rains.

The CAR is ranked as the world's fourth least developed nation.

Libya

According to the latest IOM Sudan Situation Report, the number of individuals who entered Libya has increased significantly to 2,805, compared to the 714 who arrived on 2 May 2023.

The majority of these arrivals are Sudanese refugees.

International funding

During a donor conference for Sudan in Geneva on 19 June, $1.52 billion was pledged in response to the UN's appeal for $3 billion to address the current situation.

Furthermore, the EU had already allocated €73 million in humanitarian aid to Sudan in 2023, and an additional €60 million was allocated due to the conflict. Out of the €60 million, €52 million was allocated to Sudan, and €8 million was allocated to neighbouring countries.

The High Representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security policy and Vice President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, has announced that the EU will provide €100 million in assistance to Egypt for border management and to accommodate the new influx of Sudanese refugees.

In May, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that the United States would provide an initial $103 million in additional humanitarian assistance to support Sudan and neighbouring countries affected by the crisis.

The new funding comprises $8 million for the CAR and $17 million for Chad, as well as $6 million for Egypt, $22 million for South Sudan, and $50 million for Sudan to help address the growing humanitarian needs caused by the ongoing crisis.

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