Global perspective Human stories

Tens of thousands displaced as fighting intensifies in southeast Sudan

Families flee Sinja in southeastern Sudan following violent clashes.
© UNICEF/Omran Ahmed
Families flee Sinja in southeastern Sudan following violent clashes.

Tens of thousands displaced as fighting intensifies in southeast Sudan

Peace and Security

Fresh fighting in southeast Sudan is exacerbating civilian suffering, with reports that over 136,000 people have fled their homes in search of safety, UN humanitarians have said.

“People are facing multiple protection risks and have reported widespread looting of homes and personal possessions,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a flash update issued late on Thursday.

Humanitarian partners receiving displaced people from Sennar state in the southeast of Sudan are scaling up response to meet their needs, it added.

Sennar, Sinja, and Ad Dinder localities were already hosting about 286,000 displaced people before the escalation in clashes there in late June.

This indicates that the newly displaced from Sennar may have already been displaced at least once before.

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Homes, shops targeted

They are encountering numerous safety threats, with reports of widespread looting of their homes, vehicles and personal belongings, allegedly by Rapid Support Forces (RSF) members.

Local shops and markets have also been targeted, depriving civilians of vital resources and intensifying insecurity.

The war between rival militaries, Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the RSF started in April last year, amid escalating tensions related to a transition towards civilian governance.

Wider situation

OCHA further reported that those displaced in Sennar  have  been arriving in neighbouring states of Gedaref, Kassala, and Blue Nile.

About 26,000 people – including 6,800 children – are reported to have reached Gedaref. They are gathering at a local market in desperate need of food, water and shelter, according to an OCHA team in the area.

An additional 1,000 people from Sennar have arrived at the reception centre in Kassala state as of Wednesday.

Furthermore, over 30,000 people have arrived in Blue Nile state. Most of them are being hosted in school buildings, which were already hosting other displaced communities.

UN response

Responding to the influx, UN humanitarian teams have been distributing ready-to-eat meals and drinking water to families.

They are also providing basic health services through a mobile clinic and supporting a common kitchen capable of feeding about 15,000 people.

However, even as humanitarian partners are expanding their response in the wake of heightened displacement, more assistance is required to meet increasing needs, OCHA said.