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Sudan faces an internal refugee crisis

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Ali, originally from Khartoum, is now forced to sleep in the open air in Northern Sudan. Shelter is among the most pressing needs for millions displaced by the violence. Photo: IOM Sudan/Noory Taha

Six months into the conflict, Sudan has become the largest internal displacement crisis in the world with over 7.1 million people displaced within the country, 4.5 million of whom have been displaced since violence erupted in mid-April, according to the latest figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM). 

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

In addition, over 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 humanitarian situation in Sudan is catastrophic with no end in sight and civilians are the ones paying the price,” said IOM Director General Amy Pope. “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.”

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. The situation is further exacerbated by significant 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.

“It’s a daily struggle to get the essentials we need,” said Iman, a mother of two sheltering at a displacement site in Wadi Halfa, in Sudan’s Northern state bordering Egypt. “We lost everything that mattered to us, our home, our belongings, our jobs and our sense of security.”

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 to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) data.

IOM has been at the forefront of the response since the onset of the crisis, providing life-saving assistance to over 444,000 people in Sudan. The Organization is expanding its operations by opening new offices in cities including Kosti, Wad Madani and Wadi Halfa.

To date, only 28 per cent of IOM’s appeal for Sudan and neighbouring countries has been received. IOM urgently appeals to the international community for additional funding and support in facilitating unrestricted and safe access to deliver critical aid where it is most needed.

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