Overcrowded refugee camps in Sudan require humanitarian aid

UNHCR refugee camp in Africa UNHCR refugee camp in Africa Photo by Petterik Wiggers/Hollandse Hoogte on Albumarium

23 December 2020

While aid is urgently needed, UNHCR appealed for 156 million dollars to provide adequate support to the refugee population  

The violence that erupted in Ethiopia’s Tigray region last November triggered a refugee crisis that is now strongly impacting neighbouring Sudan’s capabilities to deal with the emergency. The number of forcibly displaced people currently in Sudan amounts to more than 52,000, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The non-governmental organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which is providing medical support to the population sheltered in the Um Rakuba camp, warn of widespread fatigue as well as difficulty adapting to diverse living conditions, weather and food. Moreover, due to the overcrowded conditions registered in the camp, shortage of water and food, scarcity of shelters and poor hygiene are severe obstacles to refugees’ wellbeing: Humanitarian aid is urgently needed. The advent of winter with dropping night-time temperatures and increasingly adverse winter conditions will further complicate the issue.

Furthermore, overcrowding of the Um Rakuba camp may worsen due to the number of displaced people who will be relocated there from the Hamdayet Border Reception Centre in eastern Sudan, as reported by MSF. Current refugees’ living conditions, already in a delicate state, will be further challenged by increasing needs if humanitarian organizations do not intervene rapidly. 

In this regard, the UNHCR has recently appealed for 156 million dollars to be allocated for humanitarian aid to tackle the Tigray crisis and provide support to the refugee population. The aid will partly address states’ preparedness, particularly Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea, to face the large number of incoming refugees. 

UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic stated that the funding would cover the diverse needs of the beneficiaries such as adequate facilities; supplies such as medicine and food; and education services together with logistical support for facilitating registrations and documentations. 


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Author: Laura Manzi; Editor: Andrew Goodell

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