Khartoum, Sudan, 16 May 2023 — The ongoing conflict in Sudan has resulted in significant loss of life, with over 600 people killed and more than 5,000 injured. The situation is dire, with tens of thousands of people trapped indoors and running out of essential supplies such as food, water, and medicine. Health services are struggling, with several hospitals closing due to a shortage of medical supplies. As a result, almost one million people have fled their homes, seeking refuge in other states in Sudan and neighbouring countries.
Kurt Tjossem, IRC Vice President for East Africa, said,
“IRC staff at the borders with Sudan have reported thousands of refugees living in makeshift tents with limited access to clean water and sanitation. Efforts are underway to transfer them to neighbouring existing camps, but the large numbers of people make this a challenging task. We know there are many uncertainties for people right now, but one thing that’s clear is the needs are immense, immediate and will be for a long time. The longer they remain in these conditions, the more vulnerable they become to disease, hunger, and other hardships.”
The humanitarian situation in Sudan will continue to deteriorate unless all parties to the conflict prioritise the protection of civilians and ensure they have unrestricted access to lifesaving humanitarian aid. With more than 200,000 people already displaced into neighbouring countries like Chad and South Sudan, it is critical that the low-income fragile countries who are providing this refuge are better supported by the international community, especially by fully funding their humanitarian response plan.
Humanitarian agencies like IRC are facing obstacles and attacks that prevent us from reaching and providing aid to those in need. The IRC's efforts to provide water, healthcare, and protection services to those who have fled the conflict are vital and must continue.
It was crucial for the Jeddah ceasefire negotiations to expand discussions to include respecting international humanitarian law, protecting civilians, and ending human rights violations which parties need to adhere to on the ground. Ultimately this crisis will not abate until the conflict comes to a stop, which will require bringing not only the warring parties to the table, but also the civil society and women-led organisations whose buy-in will be critical to ensuring a lasting peace.
The IRC in Sudan
- The IRC has set up a satellite office in Wad Madani to support primary health care and protection services to the 50,000 IDPs who have fled there.
- The IRC has a main office in Khartoum with three field offices in El-Gadarif, Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.
- In Sudan, the IRC supports people impacted by conflict and crisis, including women, children, the elderly, persons with disabilities, refugees, mixed populations and host communities.
- We provide an integrated health, nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programme and also provide child protection services and comprehensive women and girls’ protection and empowerment services including to gender-based violence (GBV) survivors.
- 15.8 million people needed humanitarian assistance before the conflict started, and over 4 million needed protection support.
- Sudan hosts one of the largest displaced populations in Africa, with over 3.7 million internally displaced people and over 1.1 million refugees from South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Central African Republic, Chad, Yemen, and Syria.
- Approximately one-third of the country’s 46.7 million population faced food insecurity in March 2023.