Rapport fra MedGlobal: The Sudanese refugee crisis could be a humanitarian catastrophe

Hentet fra reliefweb.org | Rapport fra MedGlobal


On April 15, 2023, an armed conflict between the Rapid Armed Forces and the Sudanese Armed Forces erupted in the capital city Khartoum, quickly spreading through the Darfur region.With more than 650,000 people fleeing the country and over 2.2 million internally displaced, this conflict has resulted in another major humanitarian crisis that could impact beyond Sudan.

Several of Sudan’s neighboring countries reported several thousand people fleeing to their borders on bus, car, and foot through incredibly dangerous conditions. Looting is rampant and carjackings occur, even amongst humanitarian organizations. Due to the collapse of the Sudan banking system, these refugees also have no access to cash, leaving them unable to pay for basic needs, adding to their vulnerability. Refugees also face various issues as a result of overcrowding. At least 800,000 refugees had fled Sudan during previous conflicts, often settling across the border in Chad, South Sudan, and Egypt. With the increase from this conflict, the lack of supplies is destined to worsen. According to the UN, the humanitarian situation is dire with food, water, and fuel shortages, limited electricity and communications access, and high prices for essential items due to inflation. Gender-based violence prevention, child care for refugee children, and psychosocial support are also concerns within the most refugee camps. The UNHCR puts a strong emphasis on mental health needs amongst the refugees, as many have to cope with loss, family separation, separation from support systems and trauma from violence.

Direct attacks on healthcare facilities and severe shortages of medicine and medical supplies have made healthcare incredibly difficult. With an already weak healthcare system, Sudan’s healthcare services have taken a major hit as a result of the war with a severe lack of supplies, 70% of hospitals closed, and a lack of body disposal within Sudan. Those fleeing the conflict will rarely find improvement. Demands for more nutrition and hygiene promotion programs have increased in these camps. With a lack of clean water, water borne illnesses can emerge. Malnutrition is likely to appear due to a lack of food, especially amongst children. With food, medicine, and drugs being cut off since the start of the conflict, many who suffer from conditions like diabetes are now suffering. Malaria and dengue fever are still affecting the population, especially children. Doctors Without Borders have been primarily focusing on pediatrics, maternity care, and malnutrition. Despite this, not even 10% of the UN’s planned budget to help Sudan has been approved, and humanitarian organizations have made it clear that they need more funding.

The upcoming rainy season is expected to further complicate the situation. Floods are known for impacting the region. Heavy rains in Ethiopia have caused damage to shelters and created a possibility for disease outbreak. Between May and October of 2022, heavy rains and flooding affected roughly 349,000 people, damaging over 48,250 homes, and destroying 24,859 houses. The White Nile region is particularly vulnerable to flooding, and scientists predict above average rainfall for this year. Last year, over 1,000 water sources, 500 healthcare facilities, and 2,500 latrines in Sudan were damaged by flooding, leading to decreased sanitation practices that open the doors to diseases such as cholera, dysentery, and polio. Floods also destroy crops and cut off supply chain access, making an already dire food security situation even worse.