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UNHCR’s Grandi warns Sudan carnage will force millions more to flee

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UNHCR’s Grandi warns Sudan carnage will force millions more to flee

19 June 2024 Also available in:
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi seated in a circle with a large refugee family inside a UNHCR tent.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi (centre left) meets South Sudanese refugee Nyapuot (centre right) and her family in Alagaya refugee camp in Sudan’s White Nile State.

On his second visit to Sudan since the outbreak of war last year, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi warned today that without concerted peace efforts, many more people will flee the brutal war in Sudan and into neighbouring countries.

Grandi visited refugee camps and displacement centres in Kosti, in Sudan’s White Nile State, where over a million people have sought shelter since the fighting started.

The level of suffering is truly unconscionable,’’ said Grandi. “Sudan is the definition of a perfect storm: shocking human rights atrocities, with millions uprooted by this insane war and other wars that came before it. A terrible famine is looming, and severe floods will soon hamper aid deliveries even more. We are losing a generation to this war, yet peace efforts are not working.”

Grandi expressed deep alarm at the scale of the humanitarian emergency. Violence has escalated in El Fasher, North Darfur, and atrocities have been reported against civilians in Al Jazira State. He said many civilians are trapped in conflict flashpoints, unable to flee for safety elsewhere.

“Civilians did not start this war, yet they pay the price for it. We need the warring parties to stop targeting them, and to immediately facilitate humanitarian access to communities that require life-saving aid,” said Grandi.

Nine million people have been displaced since war broke out, making Sudan the world's most pressing displacement crisis. Nearly two million people have fled beyond the country’s borders.

“Military leaders, and those with influence over them, must make peace a priority. Without it, people will keep fleeing into neighbouring countries, like Chad and South Sudan, which are only just emerging from their own conflicts and simply cannot cope with millions more mouths to feed. The stability of the region is at stake.”

Displaced people are living in abysmal conditions at risk of disease in overcrowded refugee camps, former schools and other makeshift sites.

The arrival of large numbers of people has increased pressure on communities hosting them. Grandi praised their generosity in welcoming those fleeing and asked for international donors to continue and step up their own support to the humanitarian response.

“So many people are trapped in a tragic cycle of displacement, lives upended by war time and again. Youth and women leaders spoke to me of their hopes for an education, job opportunities, prospects for the future. That takes investment, and it is worth it to build a better future for Sudan.”

Note to editors: UNHCR’s response and key data

UNHCR and partners have scaled up response efforts in White Nile and other areas. Since the start of the conflict, UNHCR has reached some 800,000 displaced Sudanese with protection assistance, services and referrals, cash, core relief items and emergency shelter.

Access constraints have limited the presence of humanitarians and hampered the safe and timely movement of aid supplies, including crossline and across borders.

After weeks of waiting at the Tine border in eastern Chad, recently UNHCR managed to get just three trucks of supplies for 1,000 families into North Darfur, a tiny percentage of what is needed. Some progress on access has been made in recent weeks with a new inter-agency convoy in preparation, including trucks carrying aid for 7,000 families.

Despite immense needs, aid agencies have only received 16 per cent of the resources they need to assist and protect those most in need inside Sudan.

Nearly 440,000 South Sudanese refugees live across White Nile State, the largest refugee population in the country, a third of whom have been forced to flee yet again from other states in Sudan due to the conflict. Another 1.3 million people are internally displaced, living with the communities or in displacement sites.

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