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The war deepens the humanitarian crisis in Sudan and threatens to destabilize the countries of the region

The UNICEF representative in RCA says that most of the refugees have arrived in an area that was already in a "humanitarian emergency".

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The war deepens the humanitarian crisis in Sudan and threatens to destabilize the countries of the region

The UNICEF representative in RCA says that most of the refugees have arrived in an area that was already in a "humanitarian emergency"

MADRID, 27 May. (EUROPA PRESS) -

The fighting that broke out in mid-April between the Sudanese Army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has deepened the already serious humanitarian crisis in which the country was plunged and threatens to destabilize the situation in the region. , where more than 220,000 refugees have fled so far.

The clashes are part of a power struggle between the two main military figures in the country, the head of the Army and the leader of the RSF, Abdelfatá al Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, respectively, within the framework of a transition process that began in 2019. and that it has suffered numerous obstacles since then.

One of the main problems was the coup d'état led in October 2021 by Al Burhan against Abdalá Hamdok, then prime minister of unity that emerged after the overthrow in April 2019 of President Omar Hasan al Bashir, which led to unblocked political paralysis. in December 2022 with an agreement that included the reintegration of the RSF into the Armed Forces.

However, the refusal of Dagalo, alias 'Hemedti', to the conditions of this reintegration led to tensions that caused postponements in the formation of the new transitional government and, finally, in combats that have left more than 700 dead, according to the official balance, although a union of Sudanese doctors has raised the number of deaths to more than 860.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) indicated in a report published in February that 15.8 million people would need humanitarian aid in 2023 in the country, which then had 3.7 million internally displaced persons. Likewise, data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) showed that more than 418,000 people had been displaced during the previous year "due to conflict and natural disasters."

The crisis was being deepened by rising commodity prices, including a nearly 150 percent spike in the price of sorghum in January 2023 compared to the same month in 2022. In this context, the World Food Program Food (WFP) delivered aid in 2022 to 9.3 million people affected by the situation, described as an amalgamation of conflict, climatic shocks, poor harvests, and macroeconomic crisis, deepened in part by the impact of the war in Ukraine.

For this reason, the UN and its partners launched a Humanitarian Aid Plan for 2023 that required approximately 1,585 million euros with the aim of giving aid to 12.5 million people, a figure that has become outdated due to the war, which led to a revision of the plan, which now asks for some 2,765 million euros, a figure that includes about 434 million euros to give aid to refugees, returnees and host communities in the region.

The latest figures collected by UNHCR include 800,000 displaced and more than 220,000 Sudanese and foreign refugees residing as refugees in Sudan and have been forced to return to their countries of origin, mainly South Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia, Central African Republic (CAR) and Egypt.

The main exit door has been Egypt, which has received nearly 150,000 people, according to UNHCR, which adds that they are joined by some 90,000 people arriving in Chad, 68,809 arrivals in South Sudan -- many of whom are South Sudanese refugees who lived in Sudan--, 10,368 people arrived in CAR and 5,168 people who have crossed the border with Ethiopia.

In the case of Chad, the arrival of refugees "is contributing to what was already a serious humanitarian crisis" in the country, which suffers from widespread food insecurity and where 6.9 million people -- more than a third of the population -- need humanitarian aid, according to UNHCR. Brice Degla, the agency's emergency coordinator in Chad, has warned that "if action is not taken now, it will be too late."

For her part, Lillian Sabasi, UNHCR Protection Officer in South Sudan, recalled that the country "was already facing a major humanitarian crisis" and stressed that "a large number of unplanned returns could destabilize local communities already facing problems and exacerbate the crisis. The organization is also coordinating the delivery of aid in Egypt together with the authorities of the African country, support that is being distributed by the Egyptian Red Crescent, which has recently indicated that the majority of refugees who have crossed the border have moved to the capital, Cairo, and other urban areas.

The representative of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in RCA, Meritxell Relaño, has indicated in statements to Europa Press that "the crisis that began on April 15 in Sudan has impacted a large part of neighboring countries, but in particular CAR and South Sudan, which would be the most vulnerable countries of all those surrounding Sudan."

"Most of the displaced have gone to Egypt or Chad, but a part has also come to CAR, which is one of the poorest countries in the world, let's say, and in the area, in particular," he said, before specifying that most of these people have arrived in the town of Am Dafok, an area "where there was no possibility of giving them shelter anywhere."

"In this population there were practically no social services before the arrival of this large number of people," he explained, before adding that the majority "are women and children" who had "practically nothing." "Most of them were mothers who went with four or five children and, although some children were a little older, the majority were under five years old," she asserted.

Thus, he recalled that RCA "is also mired in its own conflict and has very limited social services in terms of water, sanitation and food", among other things, before stressing that the aforementioned area "was already a humanitarian emergency". , located at a level close to that of famine, according to data from the Integrated Classification of Food Security Phases.

"Many of the children come in a situation of chronic or acute malnutrition and need medicines for the most basic diseases of childhood, which in this area are diarrhoea, malaria and acute respiratory infections, and the Am Dafok health center does not reaches everyone", he lamented.

Relaño has reported that "many pregnant mothers and women who have lost their babies along the way" have arrived in the area and has warned that the situation could worsen soon, as the start of the rainy season is approaching. "The whole area is going to be flooded and it is going to be almost impossible to get all the materials that are needed," he said.

"RCA is already a compendium of crises", he said, before stressing that the country "has very high rates of malnutrition", to which is added "the risk of cholera" and that "a large part of the population is threatened by the conflict. "Almost 40% of the children in the country suffer from chronic malnutrition, this before the crisis, and almost 6% are in a situation of acute malnutrition in some areas of the country," she pointed out.

On the other hand, he stressed that RCA is one of the countries in which there is "better coordination" with other UN agencies, NGOs and the authorities, before noting that "the country is moving forward" with international aid and sustaining that "it is necessary to continue maintaining all the efforts". "It is true that huge investments have to be made," he stressed, while also focusing on "peacekeeping." "There is no development without peace", he has settled.