Conflict in Sudan worsening humanitarian situation in neighbouring countries, Oxfam responding

Humanitarian Advocacy article written on the 05 May 2023

Oxfam is supporting a humanitarian response for refugees arriving from Sudan into South Sudan’s Renk and Raban counties in Upper Nile State, and in Chad’s Sila province. 

Nearly 30,000 people have already crossed the border to South Sudan following fighting in Sudan, with 6,000 people arriving daily.  

“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,” said Fati N’Zi-Hassane, Oxfam in Africa Director. 

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. There is no plan to keep thousands of people there for long in these tents and while efforts to transfer them to neighbouring cities like Juba are underway, the numbers are huge. 

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 (3.4million people) are facing extreme hunger and need urgent assistance, as they suffer the impacts of their own conflict, climate change and displacement.  

In the Central African Republic (CAR), where nearly 10,000 Sudanese recently arrived, the prices of some staple foods 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 have arrived just in the last few days.  The numbers are expected to rise to 100,000 within the next six months.    

Many of the displaced are women and children who are arriving with nothing to fend for themselves and their families. 

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 says: “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.”  

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. 

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.  

Donors must immediately fill in the UN funding gap, to help humanitarian organisations mount response inside Sudan and in neighbouring countries hosting refugees.  

For interviews, contact Lucy Brown on 0478 190 099/