Concern Worldwide alarmed at worsening Sudanese refugee crisis
A major humanitarian crisis is unfolding in eastern Chad where hundreds of thousands of traumatized Sudanese people need essential support after fleeing conflict, Concern has warned.
The organization is deeply alarmed by the worsening situation at the border where mostly women and children are arriving with stories of atrocities. They now urgently need shelter, food and security.
Almost 2.8 million people have fled Sudan since conflict began there on April 15, including an estimated 230,000 people who arrived in Chad. In addition, more than two million people have been displaced inside Sudan.
“Women, children and men say they have been shot at while trying to flee and that many have not made it,” said Concern’s Chad Country Director Audrey Hernandez, whose team of aid workers are operating in difficult conditions, “one woman told me she saw her husband shot dead as their home was attacked.”
Those fleeing have witnessed atrocious scenes and find themselves without enough equipment to meet their needs. Ms. Hernandez says, “we are deeply worried about their health and the possible spread of diseases. Most arrive in Chad with nothing.”
The rainy season in Sudan has begun, which means flooding could begin within weeks, which would make it challenging for Concern teams to reach displaced populations. Currently, thousands are being moved to new or existing refugee camps over 18 miles further inland. The UNHCR, which is coordinating the humanitarian response in Chad, reports that it has so far relocated 53,889 refugees to safer camps inland.
Many people now are live in makeshift tents made from sticks and any material they can find, which means they are not protected from the heavy rains.
Concern is responding in the transit sites on the border and also in refugee camps inland where refugees are being relocated. Staff has distributed hundreds of “non-food item” and “dignity” kits that contain basic items such as blankets, pots, mosquito nets, and sanitary towels.
There is also a mobile health clinic in one of the temporary sites along the border where staff screen children for malnutrition and other illnesses and providing vaccinations, a pharmacy and midwife services. The mobile health clinic has so far treated 340 children for severe or moderate acute malnutrition, which can be life-threatening.
“The situation is catastrophic. We are doing everything we can with other organizations, but the overall humanitarian response is underfunded,” Ms. Hernandez explains. Concern’s Chad team are working closely with other partners and donors to secure more funding and widen the coverage of their response.
Concern is urging its supporters around the world to increase support to tackle the dire humanitarian situation.