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UNHCR: Over 8.5 Million Sudanese Forced to Flee Amid Escalating Conflict

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Food is distributed to Sudanese refugees in Koufron, Chad.
WFP/Jacques David

United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, revealed on Tuesday that more than 8.5 million Sudanese have been displaced from their homes since the eruption of conflict between rival military factions last April.

Amidst the chaos, at least 1.8 million individuals sought refuge across neighbouring borders in South Sudan, Chad, Central African Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Uganda, with thousands continuing to arrive daily.

According to UNHCR spokesperson Olga Sarrado, the war between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and its affiliated militias has inflicted profound devastation upon civilians, leaving them gripped by fear and loss.

With over 13,000 reported casualties and thousands more injured, the conflict has been characterised by relentless attacks on civilians, including alarming rates of conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence.

“The conflict has shattered people’s lives, filling them with fear and loss,” remarked Ms. Sarrado during a press briefing in Geneva.

“Sudan has experienced the almost complete destruction of its urban middle class: architects, doctors, teachers, nurses, engineers, and students have lost everything.”

Moreover, the humanitarian response to this crisis faces significant obstacles due to access constraints, security risks, and logistical challenges.

The disruption of aid deliveries and agricultural activities exacerbates food insecurity and malnutrition concerns, particularly in parts of the country grappling with dire conditions.

Ms. Sarrado underscored the urgency of addressing the deteriorating situation, emphasising the critical need for sustained humanitarian support to alleviate the suffering of millions of displaced Sudanese.

However, she warned that without adequate resources and interventions, the crisis could further escalate, deepening the humanitarian catastrophe.

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