According to the U.N. refugee agency, the ongoing conflict in Sudan may force over 800,000 people, including Sudanese nationals and existing refugees, to flee. The UNHCR assistant high commissioner for refugees, Raouf Mazou, disclosed during a member-state briefing in Geneva, Switzerland that after consultations with relevant governments and partners, they have determined that approximately 815,000 individuals could potentially seek refuge in the seven neighboring countries.
Despite a ceasefire agreement, the fighting between rival military factions in Sudan’s capital continues, leading to a warning from the United Nations on Monday that the conflict could displace up to 800,000 people.#SudanWar #Sudan #SudanEvacuation #SudanCrisis #UNHCR #ceasefire pic.twitter.com/girvNOd8jn
— News Live (@NewsLiveFree) May 2, 2023
As per Raouf Mazou, around 73,000 individuals have already fled Sudan, and his prediction of 815,000 people potentially fleeing the country includes about 580,000 Sudanese citizens and other refugees who sought safety in Sudan. However, the UNHCR’s chief, Filippo Grandi, emphasized that the planning figure is only an estimation, and they hope that the situation doesn’t escalate to that point. He added that if the violence continues, more people will be compelled to flee Sudan for safety. Grandi shared this information on his Twitter account.
UNHCR, with governments and partners, is preparing for the possibility that over 800,000 people may flee the fighting in Sudan for neighbouring countries.
We hope it doesn’t come to that, but if violence doesn’t stop we will see more people forced to flee Sudan seeking safety.
— Filippo Grandi (@FilippoGrandi) May 1, 2023
A Dire Humanitarian Crisis
The conflict, which began on April 15, has claimed several hundred lives and left thousands of people injured. The ongoing fighting between Sudan’s army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who command the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, has resulted in a catastrophic humanitarian situation per the international body. Millions of Sudanese, unable to afford the exorbitant prices required to escape the violence, have been confined to their homes, facing a severe shortage of food and water and frequent power outages. This dire situation paints a bleak picture for the people of Sudan, who are caught in the middle of the conflict.
Due to the ongoing conflict, the U.N. and other aid organizations have ceased their services. However, the World Food Programme has announced that it will resume its operations in secure areas. The organization had halted its activities after some of its staff members were killed in the early days of the war. According to Al Jazeera‘s Biesan Abu-Kwaik, who reported from U.N. headquarters, the organization plans to extend its operations to El-Gadarif, Gezira, Kassala, and the Blue Nile in the coming days. This move is expected to relieve the millions of Sudanese facing a food and water shortage due to the conflict.
The United Nations aid chief, Martin Griffiths, has issued a warning stating that Sudan is on the verge of collapsing and the ongoing war will have an adverse impact on not just Sudan but the entire region. According to him, the current situation in Sudan is unparalleled in terms of speed and scale. Griffiths has expressed his concerns and is scheduled to visit Sudan on Tuesday. This move highlights the gravity of the situation and the need for immediate action.
Growing Number of Refugees Flee Sudan as Conflict Continues
According to sources, between 10,000 and 20,000 Sudanese refugees have fled to Chad since the start of the conflict. This figure was confirmed by both Chadian authorities and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Meanwhile, evacuation efforts are underway, with many Canadian nationals and Sudanese citizens with dual citizenship being evacuated from the region. Ethiopian authorities have also confirmed that 6,000 individuals from 46 countries have arrived via the Gallabat-Metemma border. These developments underscore the severity of the situation in Sudan and the need for prompt action to protect and assist those affected by the ongoing conflict.
Intensifying Attacks Continue Despite Ceasefire Attempts
According to a report by Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, air raids hit various parts of Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan, on Monday, despite numerous attempts at a ceasefire. According to residents, the attacks occurred in the eastern and northern parts of the city and reportedly targeted the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) positions, including a fuel tanker. Heavy artillery was also used near the presidential palace, which was under the command of the RSF. These ongoing and intensifying attacks highlight the fragile situation in Sudan, where civilians continue to face the brunt of the conflict.
According to Al Jazeera correspondent Hiba Morgan, the Sudanese army aims to reclaim the presidential palace, which is located near the army headquarters general command. Morgan reported that air strikes and heavy artillery were used near the palace, causing a fire in a nearby building. Meanwhile, Al Jazeera’s Haitham Uweit noted that the clashes have now spread to new areas, including Al-Jerif East in the Blue Nile eastern part.
Al Jazeera’s Haitham Uweit reported that the most intense fighting occurred in Khartoum Bahri, particularly in Al-Halfaya, Shambat, North Kafouri, and the industrial area. He added that Volker Perthes, the U.N. envoy to Sudan, said that both sides of the conflict have agreed to send representatives for UN-led negotiations, but the details regarding the time and location are still unknown. Meanwhile, the Sudan Doctors Syndicate disclosed that civilian casualties have risen to 436 deaths and 2,175 injuries.