Sudan hosts one of the largest refugee populations in Africa, with 1.14 million refugees and asylum seekers as of 30 June 2022. The Government of Sudan continues to generously maintain an open-door policy, with new arrivals often fleeing conflict, food insecurity, and lack of basic services in neighbouring countries. Persistent insecurity in countries of origin contribute to protracted refugee caseloads remaining in Sudan, as opportunities for safe, voluntary, and dignified returns are obstructed. By mid-2022, Sudan is hosting 807,532 South Sudanese refugees, primarily in White Nile (282,807), Khartoum (191,312) and East Darfur (100,065); 131,191 Eritrean refugees primarily in Kassala (103,340), Gedaref (13,840), and Khartoum (9,275) states; and 73,448 Ethiopian refugees, primarily in Gedaref (49,944), and Blue Nile (9,688) states. Other refugee population groups also include those from Burundi, Chad, Central African Republic, Congo, Yemen and Syria. Of the 1.14 million refugee population, 38% reside in camps and 62% in out-of-camp and urban settings.
In 2022 sustained economic decline continues to affect Sudan, with the annual inflation of the Sudanese pound recorded at 148% in June¹. Lower than average harvests have reduced cereal availability, contributing to rising food prices, and exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine as Sudan is largely dependent on Russia and Ukraine for wheat imports. Similarly, fuel prices have risen significantly. Rising prices, high inflation, and challenges in supply chains combined have significantly reduced household purchasing power and resulting in a projected 11.7 million persons across Sudan likely to be in Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Phase 3 or higher between June and September 2022². Refugees, largely cut off from formal economies, are particularly vulnerable to the effects of declined purchasing power, heightened food insecurity, associated negative coping strategies and protection risks.
Within this context, persistent and large-scale needs shape the humanitarian context affecting refugees across Sudan. South Sudanese communities living in open areas on the edges of Khartoum continue to face living conditions that do not meet minimum standards, while South Sudanese refugee communities living in White Nile and East Darfur too face critical gaps in access to basic services. Eritrean new arrivals continue to be recorded, primarily joining displaced communities in protracted displacement contexts in camps in Kassala, or to move onwards via migratory pathways often leading to the Mediterranean. Ethiopian refugees have been seeking safety primarily in Gedaref since the outbreak of the Tigray conflict in 2020. The multifaceted and sectoral needs of different refugee population groups across Sudan require concerted and coordinated interventions, for which the 2022 Country Refugee Response Plan (CRP) set out the strategic framework for priority response. The CRP was implemented by 28 partners in the first half of the year and delivered assistance to address protection and humanitarian needs, working across 15 states and benefitting an estimated 533,243 refugees³. Of those reached, an estimated 47% of beneficiaries are male and 53% female, with 48% of the total caseload made up of children, 46% adults, and 6% the elderly.
In tandem, long-term interventions focused on sustainability, solutions and integration are required to realize self-reliance and wellbeing of refugee communities. The inclusion of refugees into national development plans and integration into socioeconomic infrastructure is a prerequisite for solutions-oriented results. The nine pledges made by the Government of Sudan at the Global Refugee Forum, including progressive integration of refugees into national service systems over time – notably education and healthcare – have therefore been highly welcomed by both humanitarian and development partners. Despite challenges faced in implementing integration focused programming, delivering systemic support to Government bodies, and ultimately attaining integration of refugees within national service systems, continued engagement with Government to fulfil their pledges must be at the centre of response agendas if solutions for refugees are to be realized.
Source: World Health Organization