Sudan on verge of humanitarian crisis

File picture: Reuters/Radu Sigheti

File picture: Reuters/Radu Sigheti

Published Apr 30, 2023


UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres has warned of the escalation of the crisis in Sudan with more people being displaced internally because of the intensifying war.

Guterres said they were now co-ordinating efforts to take out people who want to leave Sudan into neighbouring countries.

Already thousands of people have left Sudan for Egypt, Chad, South Sudan, Ethiopia and other neighbouring states.

The World Food Programme was also calling for more aid to deal with a stream of refugees from Sudan.

The Sudanese Armed Forces has also warned residents to stay indoors as it will now send in tanks into the streets to fight the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces.

The fighting between the two groups has been going on for the past weeks.

Guterres said they would step in and help refugees in Sudan.

“Conflict in Sudan is to trigger further displacement both within and outside the country. The UN is scaling up efforts to help people seeking safety in neighbouring countries,” said Guterres.

The UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, said it wanted more aid to help thousands of refugees flocking into neighbouring countries.

It said it was working with other governments and partners to help refugees.

“UNHCR is also bolstering supplies of core relief items, including sleeping mats, soap and cooking utensils for 20 000 refugees. Refugees are sheltering under trees and lack clean water and food.

“Planning is under way to relocate families to an existing refugee camp further from the border, while a new location is being identified to host additional arrivals. More than 400 000 Sudanese refugees are already hosted across 13 camps and among local communities in eastern Chad,” said the UNHCR.

Some of the refugees that the UNHCR was dealing with are from South Sudan who had fled to Sudan during the war there.

But they are now caught in the middle of another war and are forced to return to South Sudan.

“There are over 800 000 South Sudanese refugees in Sudan, a quarter of whom are in Khartoum and directly affected by the fighting,” said the UNHCR.

This could worsen the situation in South Sudan as it has got its own internal challenges.

“South Sudan is already suffering a major humanitarian crisis. The country has more than 2.3 million internally displaced people; almost three quarters of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance; and 2.2 million South Sudanese are refugees in neighbouring countries. UNHCR is seriously concerned that a large, unplanned number of new returns may destabilise already struggling local communities.

“The humanitarian impact of this crisis will be harsh. Sudan hosts more than 1 million refugees and 3.7 million internally displaced people. Assistance programmes that were already overstretched are now severely hampered,” said the UNHRC.

[email protected]

Current Affairs