The United Nations refugee agency has disclosed that it expects over 1.8 million people from Sudan to arrive in five neighboring nations by the end of the year and appealed for $1 billion to help them amid reports of rising disease and death rates.
Currently, the estimate for those fleeing violence is about twice what UNHCR projected in May shortly after the conflict began and an increase of 600,000 from an interim estimate.
So far, over 1 million people have fled Sudan to neighboring states of Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Central African Republic amid fighting between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in the capital Khartoum and beyond.
Many are so-called returnees or people who are returning to countries from which they had previously fled.
In South Sudan, which is due to receive a third of the 1.8 million people fleeing, thousands of people, many sick and exhausted after crossing the White Nile River, have been arriving in a transit center, aid group Médecins Sans Frontières(Doctors Without Borders) said.
It added that many others have passed away on board the boats during the nearly three-day crossing.
The refugee agency voiced increased concern about the health of the new arrivals, reporting rising malnutrition rates and disease such as cholera and measles in “several” host countries.
“It is deeply distressing to receive reports of children dying from diseases that are entirely preventable, should partners have had sufficient resources,” Mamadou Dian Balde, the UNHCR regional refugee coordinator for the Sudan Situation said. “Action can no longer be delayed.”
The now revised $1 billion appeal represents a jump by nearly half a million dollars and takes into account the additional refugees and the extension of programs by an additional two months to the end of December, a spokesperson disclosed.
The new regional appeal is just 19% funded, he noted.