‘Fear and loss’ multiplies in Sudan exodus

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At least 1.8 million among them fled across the border into neighbouring, South Sudan, Chad, Central African Republic, Egypt and Ethiopia; as well as Uganda.  

Thousands more are arriving by the day, agency spokesperson Olga Sarrado told journalists at the regular news briefing in Geneva.

The war between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and its affiliated militias “has shattered people’s lives, filling them with fear and loss,” Ms. Sarrado said.

Urban middle class decimated

Over 13,000 people are reported to have been killed, thousands more injured, and attacks on civilians, and conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence continue unabated.

Sudan has experienced the almost complete destruction of its urban middle class: architects, doctors, teachers, nurses, engineers, and students have lost everything,” Ms. Sarrado said.

“Access constraints, security risks and logistical challenges are hampering the humanitarian response. Without incomes, and amid disrupted aid deliveries and harvests, people cannot get food, prompting warnings of worsening hunger and malnutrition in parts of the country,” she added.

Refugee hosting countries

South Sudan has received the most refugees from Sudan, about 640,000 people, and on average 1,800 are still arriving every day, increasing pressure on overstretched infrastructure and exacerbating the vast humanitarian needs.

In Chad, the number exceeds 560,000 and while UNHCR and aid partners have managed to relocate most refugees to new and expanded settlements, over 150,000 remain in border areas in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, largely due to funding shortfalls.

Ethiopia, which already hosts one of the largest refugee populations in Africa, also reported continued new refugee arrivals, recently surpassing 50,000.

‘Desperate needs’

The situation for women and children is particularly alarming.

Those crossing borders, mostly women and children, are arriving in remote areas with little to nothing and in desperate need of food, water, shelter and medical care. Many families have been separated and arrive in distress,” Ms. Sarrado said.

“Parents and children have witnessed or experienced appalling violence, making psychosocial support a priority,” she said.

‘Critically low’ funding

The UNHCR spokesperson further warned that despite the magnitude of the crisis, “funding remains critically low”.

Only 7 per cent of the funds needed for the 2024 Regional Refugee Response Plan for Sudan have been fulfilled, while the response effort inside Sudan is just 6 per cent funded.  

“Firm commitments from the international community to support Sudan and the countries hosting refugees are needed to ensure those forced to flee by the war can live in dignity,” Ms. Sarrado urged.



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