-Six Million Displaced, Urgent Call for Aid
By Insight Post Uganda
The relentless conflict in Sudan has resulted in a dire displacement crisis, as nearly six million individuals have been forcibly uprooted from their homes, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
A staggering statistic reveals that women and children account for nearly 90% of those affected by this calamity. This unfolding humanitarian catastrophe has prompted the UNHCR to label it as one of the most significant protection crises in the world today.
Mamadou Dian Balde, the UNHCR’s Regional Director for the East and Horn of Africa and Great Lakes, described the situation as deeply troubling. Balde emphasised that within Sudan itself, many people residing in urban areas are also affected, but they lack the resources to escape the conflict’s devastating impact.
In a related development, the United Nations Human Rights Council voted to establish a high-level probe aimed at “investigating and establishing the facts, circumstances, and root causes of all alleged human rights violations” within Sudan.
The Independent International Fact-Finding Mission for Sudan, as mandated by this resolution, will scrutinise violations of international humanitarian law, including those committed against refugees and other crimes resulting from the ongoing conflict.
As the crisis escalates, the UNHCR fervently called for a cessation of hostilities, urging Sudan’s opposing military factions to engage in a peace process. The goal is to provide a safe environment for the millions of displaced people to return to their homes and rebuild their lives.
The ongoing conflict, which ignited in mid-April between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), has taken a heavy toll on innocent families. They’ve embarked on harrowing journeys, often separated from their loved ones, with an alarming increase in reports of gender-based violence.
The crisis has also brought about a major issue of child malnourishment and a surge in disease outbreaks, making the situation even direr.
“I have seen and I have witnessed the level of human rights violations that have happened within Sudan so that what we hear from people who have crossed the borders is heartbreaking, and that’s the protection crisis that we are faced with and it has been ongoing for the past six months,” Balde sadly expressed his concern.
This crisis is not confined to Sudan alone; it has far-reaching regional ramifications, particularly in neighbouring Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR).
Both nations are grappling with an influx of refugees who are fleeing the devastating conflict in Sudan, each carrying stories of despair, loss, and continued vulnerability.
Abdouraouf Gnon Konde, UNHCR’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa, conveyed the unprecedented nature of the situation: “In my long career as a humanitarian worker, what I have seen in Chad with this new emergency with such a rapid and vast displacement of people is the first time.”
The influx of refugees in Chad has been particularly overwhelming, with over 420,000 new arrivals, while Egypt has received 300,000, and CAR has taken in about 19,000.
To put this in perspective, Konde noted, “Chad has hosted more refugees in these mere five months than it has in the past 20 years, becoming now undeniably the epicentre of this crisis.” According to UNHCR estimates, by the end of 2023, the number of refugees in Chad could surge to 600,000.
In response to this emergency, the UNHCR has taken swift action, relocating 42% of refugees away from high-risk border areas. The agency’s focus remains on safeguarding the vast number of vulnerable women and children who have found themselves ensnared in this spiralling tragedy.
The challenges are immense, but the international community is called upon to address this crisis with urgency and compassion, offering hope and support to those who have lost everything.