More than 7.4 million people in Sudan have now been forced from their homes as the war spreads further across the country and the humanitarian crisis deteriorates even further.
Islamic Relief aid workers say that many people displaced by the most recent fighting in central Sudan have walked 3-4 days with barely any food or water as they flee to try and find safety, sleeping out in the open by the roadside or under trees.
Elsadig Elnour, Islamic Relief’s Country Director in Sudan, says; “If the war continues like this, I fear that the whole country will collapse. The needs of the people are huge and growing by the day, and there are desperate families wandering along the roads with nowhere safe to go.”
In the past few weeks alone, more than 600,000 people have been displaced by attacks in Wad Madani and parts of Al Jazirah state, the country’s main breadbasket region. Many of them have been displaced for at least the second time, after they fled to Wad Madani to escape the violence in Khartoum and now have to flee again.
Many are arriving in towns in eastern Sudan such as Gedaref, Port Sudan and Sennar, which are now becoming severely overcrowded. In the city of Port Sudan, new arrivals are struggling to find anywhere to stay as rents have skyrocketed in the past few weeks due to the rapidly rising demand. Renting an apartment there can now cost a family around $4,000 a month, which only a wealthy minority can afford.
Diseases like cholera and malaria have broken out in Port Sudan and Gedaref amid crowded and unsanitary conditions. Port Sudan in particular is lacking adequate sanitation.
Food in parts of Al Jazirah state has tripled in price and there are growing concerns that farmers will now miss the winter harvesting season from December until the end of February further reducing the supply of food like wheat and vegetables in the coming months.
Elsadig Elnour adds: “Wad Madani had become like a second capital as people fled there from Khartoum after it was engulfed by conflict. Now it’s like a ghost town. We are extremely worried that hunger will rise if farmers in the country’s main breadbasket region can’t plant again because of the violence and displacement. We urgently need a ceasefire and peace.”
Islamic Relief has had to suspend its operations in Al Jazirah state but continues to support people in Sudan in parts of Darfur, North and South Kordofan, Gedaref, Sennar and Blue Nile state. It is distributing food and cash to thousands of people displaced from Wad Madani. Islamic Relief has provided aid to over half a million people since the conflict erupted in Sudan on 15 April 2023.
- More than 6 million people are now internally displaced within Sudan, and a further 1.4 million people have fled Sudan – mostly to neighbouring countries such as Chad, Egypt and South Sudan.
- Of the people displaced by the latest Al Jazirah fighting, UN figures show 54% of them were displaced for the first time and 46% were displaced for at least a second time.