Conflict in Sudan putting huge strain on neighbouring countries, Oxfam responding

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Six thousand people per day are arriving from Sudan at the border with South Sudan, putting massive additional strain on a country already hit by a hunger crisis, Oxfam said today.

Nearly 30,000 people have already crossed the border to South Sudan since the fighting began in Sudan last month with tens of thousands more fleeing to Chad and the Central African Republic.

Oxfam is supporting a humanitarian response for refugees arriving into South Sudan’s Renk and Raban counties in Upper Nile State, and in Chad’s Sila province. Oxfam staff at the borders report that thousands of Sudanese refugees are living in transit centres under makeshift tents, with not enough clean water or sanitation. Efforts to transfer them to neighbouring cities like Juba are underway, but the numbers are large. Many of the displaced are women and children who are arriving with nothing.

Fati N’Zi-Hassane, Oxfam in Africa Director, said: “This is a snowballing tragedy. People fleeing the conflict in Sudan are in urgent need of assistance, but they are arriving into countries already facing humanitarian crises, straining already stretched resources.”

Even before the conflict erupted in Sudan, the situation was already dire in neighbouring countries. More than half the population of South Sudan (9.4 million people) and the Central African Republic (3.4 million people) are facing extreme hunger and need urgent assistance, as they suffer the impacts of their own conflicts, climate change and displacement.

In the Central African Republic (CAR), where nearly 10,000 Sudanese recently arrived, the prices of some staple food like sugar and millet have doubled, because transport and trade have been severely disrupted.

Similarly, in Eastern Chad, where 400,000 of the total 583,000 refugee population were already from Sudan, nearly 20,000 arrived just in the last few days. The numbers are expected to rise to 100,000 within the next six months.

Oxfam aims to support 30,000 people at the South Sudan border, Upper Nile counties as well as in Sila province in Chad, with food, clean water and sanitation and hygiene kits. Oxfam is also currently assessing refugee needs in Central African Republic in order to mount a response there.

Aisha Ibrahim, 37, had to walk for four days to Joda at the South Sudanese border with her four children, leaving her husband behind to protect their home. She said: “I used to live in a proper home; I could never imagine myself in this situation. I don't have relatives in South Sudan. All my people are in Sudan."

Funding for the humanitarian needs of the region is already meagre – with only 20% of the UN appeals having been filled to date for South Sudan, CAR and Chad combined. Oxfam is calling on donors to urgently fill this funding gap.


Notes to the Editors

  • In January 2018, 5.3 million people (48% of the population) in South Sudan were estimated to be facing Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4) acute food insecurity, out of which 1 million people are facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity according to the Integrate Food Security Phase Classification.
  • In November 2022, about 9.4 million people, or over half of South Sudan’s population (54%), experienced acute food insecurity, classified in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse between October and November. Source: Integrated Food Security Phase Classification.
  • The Humanitarian Appeal for South Sudan has only currently raised $424 million (25%) of a total $1.7 billion.
  • In Central African Republic, 120,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection according to the 2023 Humanitarian Needs Overview released in November 2022.
  • As per UN OCHA’s Financial Tracking System in May 2023, the UN funding gap for South Sudan in 2023 is $1.27 billion (representing a funding gap of 75%).For Chad the funding gap is $652.9 million (97% of the Humanitarian Response Plan requirements) and for Central African Republic, $368.8 million (79% gap in Humanitarian Response Plan funding). The total funding gap for the three countries is 81%. This figure does not take into consideration the growing needs of refugees in the region.
  • Oxfam calls for an immediate and lasting peace in Sudan. There is an urgent need of funding for frontline organisations to meet this growing need and avert further suffering in the region.

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