The fighting in Sudan already leaves more than 700,000 internally displaced | International
The fighting between the Sudanese Army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces have already left more than 700,000 people displaced within the country, twice as many as a week ago, the UN International Organization for Migration reported on Tuesday. The hostilities, which have also led more than 150,000 people to flee to other countries, are causing an alarming humanitarian crisis, despite attempts by the international community to at least lower the level of violence. The country's Ministry of Health has recorded at least 600 deaths and more than 5,000 wounded since the start of the clashes, already in their fourth week.
Many of the internally displaced are now being welcomed by relatives or are taking refuge in public buildings such as schools and mosques, according to the spokesman for the United Nations agency, Paul Dillon, who has remarked "the overwhelming generosity of the Sudanese people and their communities, that have opened their doors to these internally displaced persons”. At the same time, however, Dillon has ensured that this large flow of people puts "enormous pressures" on host families and communities: "In many cases, they are already suffering the effects of more than three weeks of fighting."
The delivery of humanitarian aid, however, continues to be hampered by the lack of security guarantees, according to Dillon. In the last week, both the UN and major humanitarian organizations have been redoubling efforts to send and distribute aid to the country in an attempt to mitigate the effects of what they consider "a total catastrophe", but the intensity of the fighting is slowing down operations. UN Secretary-General António Guterres also said Monday that most, if not all, United Nations agencies and their humanitarian partners in Sudan have been affected by large-scale looting since the start of the fighting. Among the looted products there are some 17,000 tons of food worth more than 13 million dollars (almost 12 million euros).
During the first three weeks of fighting, around 72% of the internally displaced in Sudan were in the western region of Darfur, which, together with the country's capital, Khartoum, has concentrated the fiercest fighting. Both areas suffer from acute shortages of food, water, medicine, electricity, fuel and cash, and the clashes have also brought their healthcare system to the brink of complete collapse. In Darfur were also the majority of the 3.7 million displaced persons who already existed in Sudan before the current conflict. Dillon did not offer figures Tuesday on the places of origin and destination of the most recent displaced, although he noted that an increase is being documented in the states around Khartoum. Until Tuesday of last week, 340,000 internally displaced persons had been registered in the country.
The opposing sides, for their part, continue to show no indication of wanting to redirect the situation. Despite the fact that a round of talks promoted by the kingdom and the United States to discuss a humanitarian ceasefire began in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, since then no details have been released about progress in the negotiations and the confrontations have continued, especially in Khartoum. Since the fighting broke out on April 15, all the truces that have been announced have been violated.
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In public statements, moreover, the parties continue to be equally inflexible. The commander of the Army, Abdelfatá Al Burhan, affirmed on Monday during an interview with an Egyptian television channel that, for the moment, they will not open a political dialogue with the paramilitaries and that their objective continues to be to defeat them and expel them from Khartoum. The Rapid Support Forces, for their part, declared in a statement that they have not stopped on the battlefield and that they continue to seek to defeat the Army.
The fighting in Sudan is also causing a large exodus of people out of the country. As of the beginning of this week, more than 65,000 Sudanese had already crossed into Egypt, some 35,000 into South Sudan, most of them South Sudanese returnees, some 30,000 more into Chad, mostly from Darfur and Chadian returnees, and more than 15,000 towards Ethiopia. Thousands more have fled to the Central African Republic and Saudi Arabia. The UN refugee agency UNHCR estimates that if the fighting does not stop, up to 860,000 people could eventually have to leave Sudan.
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