We Must Act Now to Avoid Deeper Humanitarian Catastrophe in Sudan: IOM Chief

Otash Camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).  Photo:  IOM/Muse Mohammed 2021 

Geneva – The already difficult humanitarian situation in Sudan has been further exacerbated by heavy and uninterrupted fighting for more than two weeks. 

Vulnerable people are unable to leave worst-hit areas and millions are still trapped with soaring food and transportation prices, lack of cash and access to health care, supplies and critical services. With Sudan on the brink of humanitarian catastrophe, I reiterate UN calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities, so that we can reach those most affected. 

Over 334,053 people (66,811 households) are estimated to have now been internally displaced, 72 per cent of that caseload displacement in West and South Darfur states.  Before the crisis, Sudan already had 3.7 million displaced people in the country. Furthermore, more than 115,000 individuals have crossed into neighbouring countries. 

We cannot turn a blind eye to this crisis. It is imperative that we – as UN agencies, donors, individuals, as well as governments – collectively act and support the people of Sudan and neighboring countries. 

The deteriorating situation has been marked by increasing civilian deaths, destruction of health, water and communication facilities, shortage of supplies and poor conditions at overwhelmed border points as people flee the fighting. The generosity of the Sudanese people welcoming into their communities and homes those fleeing the fighting is inspiring. 

IOM commends neighbouring countries for continuing to keep their borders open to those fleeing Sudan and calls for increased efforts to improve conditions at border points to facilitate movements and humanitarian relief operations. 

IOM is working with partners on an interagency and coordinated response plan and appeal, to enable the scale-up needed to respond to the rising needs of Sudanese and third county nationals and returnees. IOM’s Crisis Response Plans for Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia, and the Central African Republic remain severely underfunded. 

So far, the Organization has set up six warehouses across five states in Sudan and has more than 10,000 core relief kits prepositioned across Sudan. Our teams are assessing delivery capacities and options for setting up additional supplies in and around Port Sudan. 

Let me be clear. We have not and will not abandon Sudan. IOM works as part of the core UN team in Port Sudan and has set up a crisis response team in Nairobi, with readiness to deploy into Sudan as soon as possible. 


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For more information, please contact: 

In Geneva: Safa Msehli,   
In Cairo: Mohammedali Abunajela