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Sudan now the world’s largest displacement crisis

26 October 20230 comments

Six months into a bitter conflict, Sudan has become the largest internal displacement crisis in the world with more than 7.1 million people displaced across the country.

Around 4.5 million Sudanese have been displaced since violence erupted in mid-April, according to the latest figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM). 

Approximately three million of the displaced are originally from Khartoum, the capital and the epicentre of the conflict. 

Also, more 1.2 million people have fled to neighbouring countries, with Chad receiving the most arrivals followed by Egypt, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Central African Republic and Libya.  

The newly appointed Director General of IOM Amy Pope said the humanitarian situation in Sudan was “catastrophic” with no end in sight.

“Civilians are the ones paying the price. We urge the international community not to turn their back on Sudan and to urgently support relief efforts before this leads to an even deeper humanitarian tragedy,” she said.

The surge of newly displaced people across Sudan has overwhelmed public services and resources in the areas of arrival, creating appalling living conditions for millions of people who face a daily struggle to survive, IOM said.

The situation is further exacerbated by damage to infrastructure, the collapse of banking and financial services, frequent interruptions to the internet, telecommunications and electricity supply and the destruction of health facilities. 

IOM said that nearly 80 per cent of the displaced population reported that health services are either not available or inadequate, and most people (86 per cent) lack electricity, according.

The agency says it has provided life-saving assistance to over 444,000 people in Sudan. It is also expanding its operations by opening new offices in cities including Kosti, Wad Madani and Wadi Halfa. 

But so far, only 28 per cent of IOM’s funding appeal for Sudan and neighbouring countries has been received.

IOM says the funding is vital in facilitating unrestricted and safe access to deliver critical aid where it is most needed.   

The conflict in Sudan erupted in mid-April between the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudanese Armed Force (SAF) which previously had a power-sharing arrangement.

The conflict has caused a severe humanitarian crisis as shortages of food, water, medicines, and fuel have become extremely acute.

Prices of essential goods have dramatically increased due to disrupted trade routes and limited access, making them unaffordable for those remaining in besieged towns and cities across Sudan.

Widespread human rights violations have been reported, including gender-based violence, forced displacement, and killings of civilians.