Tens of thousands flee from escalating violence in Sudan’s Darfur


More than 11,000 people from Sudan’s West Darfur State have been forced to flee as refugees into neighbouring Chad since last month due to clashes in El Geneina. The violence has already displaced some 46,000 people inside the country, UNHCR reported.

“Most of them were already internally displaced people and when attacks happened in West Darfur in late December 2019, including on displacement camps, people fled and found temporary refuge in schools, mosques and other buildings in El Geneina.” UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch said on Tuesday, January 28.

With El Geneina only 20 kilometres from the border, thousands of refugees crossed into Chad, a number UNHCR anticipates could reach 30,000 in the coming weeks as tensions persist. UNHCR teams on the ground are reporting of people fleeing after their villages, houses and properties were attacked, many burnt to the ground.

In Chad, the refugees are currently scattered in several villages along a line that spans nearly 100 kilometers near the border which already hosts 128,000 Sudanese refugees. Most are staying in the open or under makeshift shelters, with little protection from the elements.

Together with the Chadian government, UNHCR is in the process of identifying a new site further from the border, where the refugees can be relocated and receive the security and assistance they desperately need.

Meanwhile in West Darfur, UNHCR and other humanitarian actors are also rushing relief items such as blankets, sleeping mats and jerry cans to assist displaced men, women and children at over three dozen gathering points.

In the past week, trucks with additional relief items arrived from UNHCR’s warehouses in other Darfur states, with more aid on the way.

UNHCR continues to seek international community’s support for the transitional government of Sudan in addressing the root causes of the conflict in Darfur. Restoring security will be key for peace building. This will also allow much needed development assistance to support sustainable solutions, including the return of Sudanese displaced inside the country and living as refugees, once conditions are conducive. (Source: UNHCR)