UNHCR chief urges int’l support for Egypt as largest host of Sudanese refugees

Amr Kandil , Sunday 28 May 2023

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has called for the international community to support countries hosting Sudan’s refugees, especially Egypt.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi visits Qustul border crossing on the Egyptian-Sudanese border to meet with the displaced people from Sudan. UNHCR Egypt


Egypt is currently the largest host of arrivals from Sudan, receiving around 160,000 people, including more than 153,000 Sudanese refugees, said the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) on Saturday.

Grandi’s remarks came amid an official visit to Egypt, where he checked on the Egyptian-Sudanese border crossings to make sure that the UN Egypt teams are providing adequate support to the Sudanese refugees.

UNHCR Representative to Egypt and to the League of Arab States Hanan Hamdan said Grandi visited the Qustul border crossing to meet with the displaced people from Sudan and strengthen cooperation with the Egyptian government to ensure the provision of adequate support.

“At the Egyptian border post in Qustul, the main entry point for refugees from Sudan, I appealed to Egypt to keep the door open to those fleeing — and to international donors to urgently support ongoing relief efforts by the authorities, local communities and aid agencies,” Grandi wrote on Twitter.

During his visit, Grandi is scheduled to meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Abul-Gheit, said Christine Beshay, UNHCR spokesperson in Egypt.

Meeting with Sudanese refugees, Grandi said the warring parties in Sudan should “stop the fighting now” as the “solution is in their hands.”

Following the outbreak of clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces in mid-April, Egypt opened its borders for Sudanese refugees and other nationals and provided support at its border to those displaced by the fighting in coordination with the UN.

Last week, the UNHCR announced that it would provide EGP 50 million (about $1.6 million) to the Egyptian Red Crescent to provide humanitarian support to people of all nationalities who are crossing the border.

Earlier in May, the Egyptian Red Crescent also received 27 tons of relief supplies provided by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and funded by the European Union (EU).

In a speech at a summit meeting for the African Union’s Peace and Security Council (PSC) on Saturday, President El-Sisi affirmed that Egypt will continue coordinating with its partners and relief organisations to provide urgent humanitarian aid in order to alleviate the deteriorating situation in Sudan.

Mobilising support

Egypt has called has requested support from the international community, as it was already hosting nine million refugees and migrants before the latest wave from Sudan.

Last week, Egypt discussed with the UNHCR the need to mobilise humanitarian and medical aid for countries hosting displaced Sudanese fleeing violence in their country.

Egypt has also expressed keenness to enhance coordination with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in order to alleviate Egypt’s burdens with regard to hosting the refugees and migrants.

The conflict in Sudan has displaced over 1.3 million people and killed over 700 people, including tens of children, according to recent data by the UN.

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