Sudan: Survivors of Sudan's Brutal War Have Been Forgotten

Nearly 700,000 people have now fled from extreme violence in Sudan to eastern Chad. One in three people in this deeply afflicted area is a refugee. Survivors have escaped atrocities, but now face extreme neglect and a daily struggle for survival.

The extreme brutality of Sudan's war has displaced 9 million people within their own country. This is now the largest war-related displacement crisis in the world, surpassing even Ukraine and Syria. Many people inside Sudan have been forced to flee violence more than once. Another 1.7 million people have escaped Sudan to neighbouring countries. In total, 10.7 million people have been forced to flee Sudan's brutal conflict but almost no one has found safety.

Chad has received the largest share of people fleeing Sudan, escaping ethnically driven attacks throughout the Western Darfur region. The volume of arrivals has placed an unbearable strain on one of the world's poorest countries. Refugees in Chad now find themselves lacking even the most basic support necessary for survival. Immediate and increased assistance for Chad and the broader Sudan crisis is required, alongside political courage from the world's leaders to end this senseless violence.

"Here in Chad, I have heard horrifying testimonies of deliberate violence and atrocities. Families fleeing neighbouring Darfur have witnessed executions, rape, indiscriminate shelling, burning of camps, and massacres - just because of their ethnicity," said Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, visiting camps and Adré informal settlement in eastern Chad this week. "And yet many survivors have been utterly abandoned. They are forced to live in desperate, undignified conditions, under make-shift tents, lacking even basic assistance. How is it that these survivors have been so forgotten?"

Ten months into the crisis, the infrastructure in Chad is overwhelmed as a constant stream of refugees continues to enter the country. New arrivals have no choice but to improvise shelters in informal camps and hope for better housing later. Thousands of refugees lack sufficient food and safe drinking water, with people lacking even plastic containers to carry whatever water is available. Aid agencies are warning that the lack of support is setting the stage for humanitarian catastrophe.

Despite a long history of people escaping violence in Darfur by crossing into Chad, both the scale and rate of the current displacement is unprecedented. More people have fled to Chad from Sudan in the last 10 months than during the entire Darfur war in 2003. In Adré, the city closest to the Darfur border, 150,000 refugees are living in a self-constructed informal settlement. Refugees now outnumber locals by more then two to one in Adré.

"I was here 20 years ago, during another period of appalling violence across Darfur, when Bush, Blair and other world leaders and celebrities were speaking out. Today we have three times the number of refugees who fled to Chad in 2003 and 2004. But this time international outrage and solidarity is missing. None of the peace initiatives or relief plans have had any real impact on the suffering inside Sudan or in neighbouring refugee camps. The needs here in Chad are off the scale, but this time the world's attention has wandered elsewhere. It can't go on like this," said Egeland.

"The sheer number of refugees here in Chad, and their harrowing testimonies, tell a story of almost unimaginable human suffering and violence. And yet those we listen to and support in Chad represent the mere tip of the iceberg. The war in Sudan is raging, and the crisis is now the world's largest displacement crisis, with over 10 million people forced to flee inside and outside Sudan. The war is shattering an entire region in the heart of Africa. There must be a more effective diplomatic and humanitarian international response."

AllAfrica publishes around 400 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.