SUDAN EMERGENCY

Sudan is suffering one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent history and the world’s worst displacement crises.

 

Since April 15, 2023, Sudan has been shaken by a conflict of alarming dimensions. Internal clashes between opposing military groups, at first only concentrated in the capital area of Khartoum, soon spread to other areas of the country, notably Darfur, Kordofan, and al Jazirah State, an area where displaced people fleeing Khartoum had settled.

The ongoing violence is having a devastating impact on the population, with around 25 million people, approximately half of Sudan’s population, in dire need of humanitarian assistance and protection.

SUDAN’S EXODUS

INTERSOS REGIONAL HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE
TO THE SUDAN DISPLACEMENT CRISIS

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Levels of food insecurity in the country are alarming. Some 18 million people – 37% of the population – are acutely food insecure, with nearly 5 million at risk of famine and nearly 4 million children under 5 acutely malnourished. The risk of famine is real for families living in parts of West Darfur, Khartoum, and the displaced population in general.

15 million people have no access to health care, and about 80% of hospitals in conflict-affected areas are no longer functioning. Health personnel and medical supplies are lacking, hospitals are being damaged, looted and occupied.

14 million children are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, 19 million are out of school and 4 million are displaced, shaping the world’s largest child displacement crisis. For the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, there is a risk of a generational catastrophe for 24 million children in Sudan.

In late February, the de facto Sudanese authorities withdrew their consent to the provision of cross-border humanitarian assistance from Chad to Sudan. The border with Chad was the only access route available to bring humanitarian aid to the regions of Darfur, the area of the country with the highest levels of humanitarian needs and where the ongoing food crisis could soon reach the famine stage. After a two-month closure, cross-border humanitarian aid from Chad to Sudan is allowed through a single access point.

WORLD’S WORST DISPLACEMENT CRISIS

 

Approximately 10 million people are currently internally displaced in Sudan, 7.26 million since the outbreak of the current conflict in Sudan. More than half of those displaced are women, and nearly 55% are children under 18.  This is for IOM the largest internally displacement crisis globally.

Over 2 million people have crossed borders seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. People have fled in large numbers to Chad, South Sudan, Egypt, as well as Ethiopia, the Central African Republic (CAR), and Libya. These countries are facing escalating refugee crises and the threat of conflict in Sudan spilling across their borders – particularly with Chad and South Sudan – creating a regional crisis with catastrophic humanitarian needs.

INTERSOS INTERVENTION IN NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES

 

Chad

Chad, where we have been operating since 2016, has been experiencing a major humanitarian crisis for years with nearly a third of the population-5.8 million people-in need of humanitarian assistance. The country is challenged by armed conflict, internal displacement and entrenched food insecurity, all exacerbated by the consequences of climate change. In addition, even before April 2023, there were 600,000 refugees in the country, including 400,000 Sudanese, who have been living in protracted displacement in eastern Chad for about 20 years.

After the start of the last conflict in Sudan, Chad has seen the largest number of Sudanese refugees crossing its border. As of June more than 781,000 refugees and returnees have entered the country and are now facing increasing challenges.

In response to the refugee crisis, INTERSOS is providing emergency shelter and protection assistance along the eastern border. Together with the UNHCR, we have built a refugee camp in Zabout, on the border with Sudan, which can accommodate about 60,000 refugees, and we are also building new emergency shelters in Kerfi camp, in partnership with the UNHCR.

We also carry out essential protection activities in Zabout and Daguessa camps: we have set up 12 safe spaces for women and children, support people in family reunification processes, and directly manage child protection and gender-based violence cases.

South Sudan

The situation is challenging in South Sudan as well, a country experiencing a chronic humanitarian crisis due to decades of civil war, poverty, violence, economic underdevelopment, flooding, poor infrastructure, climate change and food insecurity. Even before April 2023, the country was already home to about 300,000 refugees, almost all from Sudan. Throughout 2023, South Sudan continued to receive thousands of refugees and returnees from Sudan. In 2024, including refugees, it is estimated that 9 million people in South Sudan – 70% of the total population – currently require humanitarian assistance and 7.1 million people are acutely food insecure.

To date, more than 700,000 people have sought shelter from the Sudanese conflict in South Sudan. Among these, more than 550,000 are former South Sudanese refugees returning to their country of origin, while nearly 150.000 are Sudanese refugees.

Almost all arrivals from Sudan transit through Upper Nile State. Here, in Malakal, between June 2023 and January 2024, we provided essential child protection and protection services at Bulukat Transit Camp, including family tracing and reunification for unaccompanied children at two child-friendly spaces.

Since June 2024, INTERSOS has been providing assistance in the Renk border area, specifically in two transit centres and the Joda border point. We offer protection services, such as protection risk monitoring, awareness raising, and managing information desks in the transit camps, as well as the distribution of non-food items, shelter assistance, and cash provisions to the vulnerable returnees and refugees in these areas. Additionally, INTERSOS conducts regular monitoring outside of transit camps to identify the most vulnerable South Sudanese returnee families and provide in-kind assistance.

In Jongley state, on the other hand, we carry out border monitoring, support for victims of gender-based violence, psychosocial support and distributions, targeting 18,030 returnees from Sudan and Ethiopia and internally displaced persons.

Central African Republic

In the Central African Republic to date, some 25,000 refugees and more than 6,000 returnees have arrived from Sudan. The country was already in a complex humanitarian situation resulting from more than a decade of internal conflict and flooding due to climate change that continues to cause displacement. Half the population suffers from food insecurity, more than 500,000 Central Africans are internally displaced, and another 750,000 are refugees in neighboring countries, including Sudan.

Since 2014 INTERSOS has been working in the country to bring aid to the Central African population and has recently expanded its efforts to support the refugee population from Sudan.

In the Vakanga prefecture INTERSOS is operating with a specific focus on supporting and delivering assistance to children facing significant protection risks, including family separation, child abuse, sexual and gender-based violence, and recruitment by armed groups. Family separation has affected a large number of Sudanese refugee children, many of whom are unaccompanied and separated from their families.

Libya

Libya has received over 10,000 individuals, both Sudanese and non-Sudanese, between April 2023 and June 2024. Most Sudanese refugees arrive in Alkufra, then move towards Ajdabiya and Sabha, ultimately aiming for Tripoli to register with UNHCR and access essential services. Outside Tripoli, accessing these services is challenging, increasing protection risks.

In Sabha, Ajdabiya, and Tripoli, INTERSOS has been supporting Sudanese refugee communities and other groups through protection services such as integrated case management, psychosocial support, and legal assistance.

Additionally, INTERSOS provides non-formal education, distributes non-food items and kits to children, and conducts outreach activities to newly arrived Sudanese refugees in unofficial settlements.

In Ajdabiya, a transit city, INTERSOS operates a community centre with support from UNICEF and the EU. This centre provides critical support amidst a limited INGO and UN presence and a challenging security context. Many refugees in Ajdabiya aim to reach Tripoli but face risks of arrest and exploitation due to financial and documentation constraints.

 

foto © René Van Beek for INTERSOS