More than 300,000 refugees have fled the conflict in Sudan, seeking safety and sanctuary in Chad, where they join the existing population of 580,000 refugees.
“Chad has shown great generosity in welcoming Sudanese refugees, but Chad itself is a crisis-affected, low-income country,” stated David Miliband, President and CEO of the IRC (International Rescue Committee).
The UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) reports that 90 percent of the arrivals from Sudan are women and children. A concerning aspect is that one-fifth of the young children who have reached Chad are grappling with acute malnourishment, a potentially life-threatening condition.
“The substantial presence of women and children among the new arrivals in Chad raises particular concern, as they are often the most vulnerable segments in conflict scenarios,” pointed out Aleksandra Roulet-Cimpric, Country Director of the IRC in Chad. She added, “Women and children are more susceptible to violence, exploitation, and abuse, and they may also encounter challenges in accessing fundamental essentials such as food, water, and healthcare.”
Despite the pressing need to support Sudanese refugees in Chad, international donors have fallen short in funding the humanitarian response for this crisis.
“Of the requested $226 million USD to address this crisis, only a meager 11 percent of the necessary funds have been secured,” highlighted Mwiti Mungania, Emergency Country Director of the IRC in Chad. Mungania emphasized, “Immediate action is imperative to bridge this funding gap and ensure that essential resources reach those in dire need.”
Sudan: More Than a Million People Have Fled ‘Spiraling’ Conflict, Says UN
More than 1 million people have fled Sudan to neighbouring states, as people inside the country are running out of food and dying due to a lack of healthcare after four months of war, the United Nations has said.
Fighting between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has devastated the capital Khartoum and sparked ethnically driven attacks in Darfur, threatening to plunge Sudan into a protracted civil war and destabilise the region.
“Time is running out for farmers to plant the crops that will feed them and their neighbours. Medical supplies are scarce. The situation is spiralling out of control,” UN agencies said in a joint statement.
The war has caused 1,017,449 people to cross from Sudan into neighbouring countries, many already struggling with the impact of conflicts or economic crises, while those displaced within Sudan are estimated to number 3,433,025, according to the latest weekly figures published by the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Fighting in Sudan erupted in April over tensions linked to a planned transition to civilian rule, exposing civilians in the capital and beyond to daily battles and attacks.
The millions who remain in Khartoum and cities in the Darfur and Kordofan regions have faced rampant looting and long power, communications and water cuts.
“The remains of many of those killed have not been collected, identified or buried,” but the UN estimates that more than 4,000 have been killed, Elizabeth Throssell, spokesperson for the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a briefing in Geneva.
Large swathes of the country have been suffering from an electricity blackout since Sunday that has also taken mobile networks offline, according to a statement from the national electricity authority.
In what some analysts have seen as a potential softening of the army’s stance on the conflict, deputy sovereign council head Malik Agar has said “at the end of the day, this war will end at a negotiating table,” citing the hardships citizens have endured.
Agar said the circumstances necessitated the formation of a caretaker government to provide services and to rebuild.
In a speech on Monday, army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan accused the RSF of aiming “to take the country back to an era before the modern state” and “committing every crime that can be imagined.“
The RSF has accused the army of trying to seize full power under the direction of loyalists of Omar al-Bashir, the autocratic leader who was toppled during a popular uprising in 2019.
Efforts led by Saudi Arabia and the United States to negotiate a ceasefire in the current conflict have stalled, and humanitarian agencies have struggled to provide relief because of insecurity, looting and bureaucratic hurdles.