The United Nations has warned that the ongoing fighting in Sudan could result in over 800,000 people fleeing into neighbouring countries.
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, stated that it is currently planning for hundreds of thousands of people to potentially flee the violence that began on April 15.
“UNHCR, with governments and partners, is preparing for the possibility that over 800,000 people may flee the fighting in Sudan for neighbouring countries,
” tweeted Filippo Grandi, the agency’s chief. “We hope it doesn’t come to that, but if violence doesn’t stop we will see more people forced to flee Sudan seeking safety.”
Such planning does not necessarily indicate that the UN expects this number of people to flee, but that it is anticipating and planning for the possibility.
Gun battles and explosions continued to rock Sudan’s capital, despite the latest truce agreed between the warring parties.
The ongoing bloodshed has led to a mass exodus to neighbouring countries, including Egypt, Chad, and the Central African Republic. According to UNHCR, at least 73,000 people have already arrived in those countries from Sudan, including Sudanese nationals and mainly South Sudanese refugees.
Before the conflict began, Sudan hosted one of the largest refugee populations in Africa, with 1.13 million refugees, including 800,000 from South Sudan.
The fighting has also led to a mass evacuation of foreigners and international staff by land, sea, and air.
Grandi’s latest estimate of how many people could flee the violence has dramatically increased from the planning figure of 270,000 that UNHCR gave last Tuesday.
The humanitarian crisis has brought the country near its “breaking point,” warned the UN.
SOURCE: JOWHAR AND AGENCIES