In a bid to support the growing number of people expected to flee the conflict in Sudan, the United Nations Refugee Agency is seeking $1 billion in funding.
The agency and other humanitarian partners have emphasised the urgent need for these funds to provide essential aid and protection to over 1.8 million individuals projected to arrive in five neighbouring countries by the end of 2023.
This fundraising goal marks a two-fold increase from the initial estimate made in May. The escalating displacement and pressing needs resulting from the ongoing war in Sudan have necessitated a higher level of financial assistance. More than one million refugees, returnees, and third country nationals have already fled the country, highlighting the severity of the crisis.
The dire situation faced by those arriving in remote border areas exacerbates the need for immediate humanitarian assistance. Inadequate services, poor infrastructure, and limited access contribute to the desperate circumstances experienced by these individuals. Mamadou Dian Balde, the UNHCR Regional Bureau Director for the East and Horn of Africa and Great Lakes, emphasised the critical nature of the situation, stating, “Partners active in this response are making every effort to support those who are arriving and their hosts, but without enough donor resources, these efforts will be severely curtailed.”
The funds raised will address crucial needs, including water, food, shelter, health services, cash aid, core relief items, and protection services for those fleeing the war. Such support is essential to ensure the well-being and safety of those affected by the conflict. The UNHCR and its partners are keenly aware that without sufficient donor resources, their ability to provide adequate assistance will be severely limited.
The conflict in Sudan has not only resulted in widespread suffering and the displacement of millions but has also put a tremendous strain on the neighbouring countries hosting the refugees. These host countries, already grappling with their own economic and social challenges, require additional assistance to ensure they can adequately support and protect those seeking refuge within their borders.
Balde expressed deep distress upon receiving reports of preventable diseases causing the deaths of children due to insufficient resources. He emphasised that action must be taken immediately, as the countries hosting Sudanese refugees, such as the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, and South Sudan, were already accommodating a significant number of displaced individuals prior to this crisis.
While these countries have shown remarkable generosity in the face of their own challenges, we cannot take their hospitality for granted. Balde stressed the importance of solidarity from the international community in supporting host governments and communities, addressing the persistent underfunding of humanitarian operations. This support is crucial in helping those in need until much-needed peace can be achieved.
In response to the escalating external displacement from Sudan and the resulting humanitarian crisis, the 2023 Sudan Emergency Regional Refugee Response Plan was launched in May 2023. It has been revised twice since then (in June 2023 and August 2023) to accurately reflect the ongoing increases in displacement and its associated consequences.
The call for $1 billion in funding is an urgent plea to the international community to come together and provide the necessary resources to mitigate the impact of the crisis. The ongoing conflict in Sudan has created immense humanitarian needs, and without swift and sufficient support, the situation is likely to worsen.