The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, and 64 humanitarian and national civil society organisations on Monday appealed for $1 billion to provide essential aid and protection to more than 1.8 million people fleeing the ongoing conflict in Sudan who are expected to arrive in five neighbouring countries by the end of 2023.
Since the crisis began when rival military groups clashed in mid-April, projections of growing numbers of people trying to escape fighting have sharply spiked upwards.
“The crisis has triggered an urgent demand for humanitarian assistance, as those arriving in remote border areas find themselves in desperate circumstances due to inadequate services, poor infrastructure and limited access,” said Mamadou Dian Balde, UNHCR Regional Bureau Director for the East and Horn of Africa and Great Lakes, and Regional Refugee Coordinator for the Sudan Situation.
“Partners active in this response are making every effort to support those who are arriving and their hosts, but without enough donor resources, these efforts will be severely curtailed.”
The current appeal is based on expectations reflecting a two-fold increase of what was initially estimated in May to respond to the crisis.
Displacement, needs continue to soar
More than one million refugees, returnees, and third-country nationals have already fled the country, the agency reported.
Critical necessities include water, food, shelter, health services, cash aid, core relief items, and protection services. Urgent attention is also required for an increasingly dire health situation among new arrivals. High malnutrition rates, disease outbreaks, such as cholera and measles, and related deaths are occurring in several receiving countries.
‘Action can no longer be delayed’
“It is deeply distressing to receive reports of children dying from diseases that are entirely preventable, should partners have had sufficient resources,” Mr. Balde said. “Action can no longer be delayed.”
The countries receiving people fleeing Sudan – Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, and South Sudan – were hosting hundreds of thousands of displaced people even before this crisis.
“Countries in the region are facing major challenges of their own and yet they continue to show remarkable generosity, but we cannot take their hospitality for granted,” he said.
“The international community needs to stand in solidarity with host governments and communities and address the persistent underfunding of humanitarian operations; this is crucial to support individuals and communities in need, pending much needed peace.”
The 2023 Sudan Emergency Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRP) was launched in May 2023, revised in June 2023, and again in August 2023. The revisions reflected dramatic and ongoing increases in external displacement from Sudan and the resulting humanitarian crisis.
While needs have grown exponentially, donor resources have not kept pace. Currently, only 19 per cent of the increased requirements has been received.
Learn more about the Sudan Emergency Regional Refugee Response Plan here.