Sudan: Fighting Doubles Numbers of Displaced People, to Seven Million, Says UN

The Adre refugee camp in Chad (file photo).
6 September 2023

Geneva — This year's conflict in Sudan has displaced 3.8 million people within the country, nearly doubling internal displacement, the UN migration agency said Tuesday.

The latest figures, cited by the Displacement Tracking Matrix of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), show that nearly 7.1 million people are internally displaced within Sudan.

The IOM says the outbreak of fighting that erupted between the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) in April has mainly displaced people in the River Nile, East Darfur, Northern, South Darfur, Sennar and White Nile states.

Announcing the new statistics, Federico Soda, IOM Director of the Department of Operations and Emergencies, said the people of Sudan deserve peace: "Any further escalation of violence would further devastate the country and the region."

Highlighting the severity of the conflict, on Monday the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and 64 humanitarian and national civil society organizations appealed for U.S. $1 billion to provide essential aid and protection for those fleeing the conflict. The funding would help the more than 1.8 million people expected to arrive in five neighbouring countries by the end of 2023.

Double initial estimate

As displacement and the needs it generates soar, the amount is double that sought in May of this year. More than one million refugees, returnees and third-country nationals have fled the Sudan during the current conflict.

The  fighting has triggered a severe humanitarian crisis, with shortages of food, water, medicines and fuel becoming acute, said the IOM. Prices of essential goods have risen dramatically due to disrupted trade routes, 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.

Since the onset of the violence, Chad has received the highest number of refugees, followed by Egypt, South Sudan, Ethiopia, the Central African Republic and Libya. Of those fleeing, 67 percent are Sudanese nationals, said the migration agency.

Needs in Sudan are at an all-time high, with 24.7 million people – or half of the country's population – needing humanitarian aid and protection.

Following the alarming increase in the number of people affected and displaced by the crisis, IOM's Response Overview for the Sudan Crisis and Neighbouring Countries has been revised to double its funding requirement to $418 million for double the number of people – 1.9 million. To date, only 21 percent of the funding required has been provided, according to the UN.

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