STORY: Sudan Update: OCHA – UNHCR – IOM – WHO
SOURCE: UNTV CH
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
RELEASE DATE: 02 May 2023
“$1.5 billion funding gap for UN humanitarian response appeal in Sudan; relief efforts scale up as border crossings increase”
While the humanitarian needs for an estimated 100,000 people who have been fleeing the conflict in Sudan into neighbouring countries are getting more and more dramatic, UN humanitarian agencies and partners are facing a funding gap of $1.5 billion for their response in the country.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported today at a news briefing at the United Nations (UN) in Geneva that only 14 per cent of the $1.75 billion joint appeal for Sudan in 2023 is funded. The ongoing violence has killed hundreds of people and sent thousands fleeing for safety, as the fighting threatens to destabilize the wider region.
OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke said that “UN humanitarian organizations and our partners are facing a funding gap of 1.5 billion dollars. We are looking to all donors to look forward and get cash out to the humanitarian organizations already struggling before the recent escalation who will need money to implement the reboot of the response in Sudan that we are working on. Without that, they simply cannot operate”.
Intense clashes erupted two weeks ago amid a military power struggle. The Sudanese armed forces are broadly loyal to General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the country’s de facto ruler, while the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti.
“We need the guns to fall silent for two reasons: first of all, because we need civilians protected and clearly they are not. We see a lot of civilians being killed in the hundreds. Secondly, we need that safety in order for humanitarian organizations to safely get to those people in need, or the other way around for people to safely move to places where they can access aid”, insisted Jens Laerke.
As cross-border movements increase intensely, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and its partner organizations are scaling-up relief efforts.
UNHCR’s spokesperson Olga Sarrado said that “over a hundred thousand refugees are estimated to be among those who have now crossed to neighbouring countries including Sudanese refugees, South Sudanese returning and other nationalities who were themselves refugees in Sudan”. She added that “alongside governments and partners, UNHCR the UN Refugee Agency has determined an initial planning figure of more than 800,000 refugees and returnees that may flee Sudan to neighbouring countries”.
Countries neighboring Sudan impacted by this new emergency are already hosting large refugee and internally displaced populations.
“The most significant cross-border movement so far has been Sudanese refugees arriving in Chad and Egypt, and South Sudanese returning to South Sudan”, said Olga Sarrado. “Most new arrivals in Chad and South Sudan are women and children. While UNHCR has already large operations in many neighbouring countries, last week we deployed additional emergency teams and activated our global supply chain to bring relief items especially for Chad and South Sudan at the moment.”
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) at least 334,000 people have been internally displaced within Sudan due to the fighting started on 15 April.
IOM’s spokesperson Paul Dillon said that “the number of displaced people in the last two weeks as a result of conflict, exceeds all conflict-related displacements reported in Sudan in 2022, just to give you a sense of the scale of movement since April 15. All areas remain inaccessible to humanitarian agencies, however IOM is able to continue to provide these preliminary displacement figures”.
IOM reported internal displacement in 14 of the country's 18 states. Some 72 per cent, or roughly 240,000 of these new internal displacements, were reported in west and south Darfur.
Paul Dillon added that “of course, these movements are complicated by a whole series of factors- instability and lack of security along transit routes, the lack of fuel and transport services for people who are desperate to leave Sudan fleeing to safety, as well as inflation in the marketplace”.
Humanitarians underscored that the situation remains very dangerous on the streets of some parts of the country. Some markets are reopening, but the majority of the Sudanese are doing their absolute best to keep themselves and their families safe at a time of enormous instability and danger.
“We have spoken about the looting of warehouses and stocks inside Sudan, and that is certainly an enormous problem", said Jens Laerke. “A lot has been looted but not all. There are still some stocks in there that can be distributed. I know for example that UNFPA is supporting partners on the ground with lifesaving healthcare and supplies for safe births. So, you know, wherever the security situation allows, and relief items are available, of course they will be delivered.”
Quoting figures from the Sudanese Federal Ministry of Health from 28 April, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that in total 528 people have been killed in the conflict and 4,620 people injured.
“We have six containers of supplies for the treatment of injuries and the treatment of severe acute malnutrition that were dispatched by sea and are currently being moved to warehouses in Port Sudan”, said WHO’s Tarik Jašarević. “We have another 30 metric tonnes of emergency supplies to be flown from our logistic hub in Dubai as soon as this becomes possible. So, we are trying really our best to bring these supplies to Sudan.”
WHO recalled that the biggest health risk for Sudanese people right now is related to the lack of access for health workers and patients to health facilities - a large part of which are not any longer operational.
“The majority of health facilities are not functional any longer”, said Tarik Jašarević. “Many of them are partially functional and we know that in situations like this there is an issue of trauma injuries so there is a need for supplies to treat trauma wounds, but also the issue is access to other health services including to maternal health, newborn health, and there is also an issue of lack of clean water.”