In addition to a revised request from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Aid AND A for 2.56 billion dollars to fund its humanitarian response plan – targeting a few 18 million people in Sudan – UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said $472 million was required to help those forced to flee across the country’s borders.

The revised Joint Humanitarian Response Plan updates the response strategy launched for Sudan in December 2022 and reflects the “fundamental and widespread needs” within the country, according to OCHA.

Kick start help

“Today 25 million people, more than half of the population in Sudan, need humanitarian assistance and protection,” said Ramesh Rajasingham, Director and Representative of OCHA in Geneva.

“This is the highest figure we have ever seen in the country (and) the response plan we are launching today reflects the new reality; the funding requirement of almost $2.6 billion is also the highest for any humanitarian appeal for Sudan.”

The fighting that started on 15 April between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has caused immense human suffering and death, exacerbate significant pre-existing humanitarian needs in Sudan.

Regional threat

There is also every sign that the crisis could develop into a regional emergency, warned OCHA’s Mr. Rajasingham before listing a number of urgent needs, including shelter from fighting, medical support, food and water, sanitation, shelter and trauma care.

Since the fighting began, almost a million people have been displaced, the number of internally displaced persons has risen to 730,000 and 220,000 have fled to neighboring countries.

– We also receive worrying reports about increased sexual violence while victims have little access to help. Children are particularly vulnerable in this unfolding chaos,” OCHA also reported.

Also in Geneva for the revised funding appeal, UNHCR’s Raouf Mazou, UNHCR’s deputy high commissioner for operations, said the conflict had caused “massive outflows” to neighboring countries, including Chad, where around 60,000 people have now crossed the border in search of safety.

So far, 220,000 refugees and returnees have fled to Chad, Sudan, Egypt, the Central African Republic and Ethiopia, the UNHCR official said, adding that 150,000 of them were Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers.

Displaced South Sudanese make up the largest number of non-Sudanese people in need. “Overall, we must remember that there were 1.1 million refugees living in Sudan before this crisis,” Mazou said, before noting that the UN agency’s appeal for $472 million would help more than a million people in six months.

Fear of famine

A few months ago, humanitarian needs were almost half of today’s requirements, OCHA’s Mr. Rajasingham said.

But needs across the country have “expanded drastically” since the conflict broke out, leaving increasing numbers of people dangerously hungry. “When you have a crisis like this and you don’t have access to basic services, you don’t have access to health and water, there is a enormous risk that there will be an increased risk of starvation as well,” he said.