This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is today warning of spiralling humanitarian needs for refugees and displaced people in Sudan as living costs skyrocket amidst the ripple effects of the war in Ukraine, lingering impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, and extreme weather resulting from the climate crisis.
Sudan hosts among the largest number of displaced people on the African continent, including over 1.1 million refugees – mostly from South Sudan – and 3.7 million internally displaced Sudanese, mainly in Darfur and Kordofan.
Inflation had already risen steeply in 2020 and remains much higher than pre-COVID-19 levels. Steep increases in food and non-food prices and shortages of essential goods including bread and fuel are putting a strain on host communities, and disproportionately impacting the forcibly displaced, especially those without any financial support.
Fresh intercommunal clashes in 2022 and the burning and looting of villages, markets, houses, and livestock across the Darfur states, Kordofan and Blue Nile States have displaced over 177,000 people.
UNHCR is working with the government and partners to scale up our response, but efforts to provide lifesaving support to refugees and displaced Sudanese face immense strain because of acute underfunding. Limited support could leave many refugees and local communities without vital assistance, leaving them more prone to taking risks that could result in serious harm.
By 13 September, UNHCR had received just one-third of the US$348.9 million needed in 2022 to deliver an effective response and provide life-saving assistance and protection amidst the growing needs.
Resource constraints mean most plans for emergency, transitional or durable shelters will not go ahead. Only one in five refugees in need of legal documentation will receive it. Existing and planned projects supporting refugee integration will be suspended. Support for self-reliance and resilience will be affected. Two-thirds of protection monitoring work for internally displaced people will not take place, and other vital programmes will need to be limited or cut.
Making life even harder for refugees and internally displaced people are this year’s seasonal rains and floods. Displaced communities are among the 299,500 people affected by heavy rains and flash floods as of 19 September, according to Sudanese authorities and humanitarian organizations on the ground. The rains and floods have submerged houses and farmlands and killed livestock. For the people who have fled violence, the floods have created a crisis on top of a crisis. Communities with fewer resources, and less capacity to adapt to an increasingly inhospitable environment, are facing the worst impacts of extreme weather resulting from the climate crisis.
UNHCR is urging the international community to provide the funding needed by humanitarian organizations in Sudan, to support refugees, internally displaced people, and their host communities.