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Sudan humanitarian effort ramps up

12 July 20230 comments

Almost three million people have been displaced by the conflict in Sudan, in less than three months.

The UN’s migration agency IOM says that as well as more than 2.2 million internally displaced people (IDPs), nearly 700,000 others have fled into neighbouring countries.

New figures released by IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) show a humanitarian catastrophe emerging.

Most of the people displaced in Sudan have fled from Khartoum state, in central Sudan, (67 per cent) and Darfur, in the country’s west, (33 per cent), towards Northern state (16 per cent), River Nile (14 per cent), West Darfur (7 per cent) and White Nile states.

Food, access to health services and essential relief items remain critically lacking, IOM says.

While most IDPs live with host communities, more than 280,000 of them are currently living in temporary shelters such as camps, public buildings, and improvised shacks – particularly in White Nile state.

The IOM report movements have been observed across the border into Egypt (40 per cent), Chad (28 per cent), South Sudan (21 per cent) as well as Ethiopia and the Central African Republic.

“Of the over 697,000 people who crossed into neighbouring countries, 65 per cent are Sudanese and 35 per cent are estimated to be returnees and third country nationals. Most are in extremely precarious conditions,” the IOM report says.

It says the continued escalation of violence is compounding an already dire humanitarian situation in the country and the region.

At least 24.7 million people – about half the population of Sudan – are in urgent need of humanitarian aid and protection, one third of whom are in Darfur, where the situation is deteriorating dramatically, the report says.

“IOM reiterates calls for a permanent ceasefire and removal of bureaucratic impediments, to ensure safe and guaranteed humanitarian corridors and enable the delivery of aid to people in hard-to-reach areas,” said IOM Regional Director, Othman Belbeisi.

IOM says the crisis in Sudan has seen it ramp up its humanitarian operations have scaled up across Sudan, Chad, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt, Libya and the Central African Republic.

In Sudan, a large number of containers with relief items have arrived in Port Sudan, to be distributed through partners and the common Humanitarian pipeline, IOM says.

In Chad, more than 22,400 people have been reached with assistance; in South Sudan more than 37,900 people have been supported with onward transportation assistance; and in Ethiopia, more than 48,500 people have been reached with multi-sectoral assistance.

In Egypt, more than over 20,800 people have been reached with direct assistance and distribution of relief items, and in Libya, IOM is preparing for the distribution of non-food items (NFIs) and hygiene kits.

IOM has called on the international community for extra funding to increase the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Among the people displaced in Sudan are thousands of Tigrayans who fled Ethiopia’s civil war.

Tigrayan groups says little aid is getting to these people who are afraid to return to Ethiopia because of fears of an alleged ethnic cleansing campaign carried out by the Ethiopian government.

Reports says many are falling victim to human traffickers who are promising them passages to Europe.

An armed conflict between rival factions of the military government of Sudan began on 15 April 2023, when clashes broke out in cities, with the fighting concentrated around the capital city of Khartoum and the Darfur region.

The conflict began with attacks by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on government sites.

RSF leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo and Sudan’s de facto leader and army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan had formed an alliance to overthrow former military strongman Omar al-Bashir but recently have disputed control of government sites and the status of RSF officers.