More than 10 million displaced in war-torn Sudan, IOM says

UN migration agency says 7.26 million people have fled their homes since war broke out in April 2023, while 2.83 million were already displaced by previous wars.

A man walks while smoke rises above buildings after aerial bombardment, during clashes between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army in Khartoum North, Sudan, May 1, 2023
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says that within Sudan, 70 percent of those displaced 'are now trying to survive in places that are at risk of famine' [File: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah//Reuters]

More than 10 million people have been displaced within war-torn Sudan, according to the latest figures released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Since the war broke out in April 2023 between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, 7.26 million people have fled their homes, adding to the 2.83 million already displaced by previous conflicts, the IOM said on Thursday.

The United Nations has repeatedly warned that Sudan is facing the world’s worst displacement crisis, as the war shows no signs of abating and the spectre of famine haunts the country.

Over a quarter of Sudan’s 48 million people have now been forced to flee their homes, with more than two million crossing international borders.

Around 3.7 million people – over a third of all the displaced – have escaped from the devastated capital Khartoum alone.

In a little more than a year, the war has killed tens of thousands of people.

The overall death toll remains unclear, with some estimates of up to 150,000, according to the United States Special Envoy for Sudan Tom Perriello.

Millions more could die as the humanitarian crisis worsens, aid groups and experts have warned.

Within Sudan, 70 percent of those displaced “are now trying to survive in places that are at risk of famine”, the IOM has warned.

The UN says 18 million people in Sudan are acutely hungry, with 3.6 million children acutely malnourished.

Some 55 percent of Sudan’s displaced people are children under 18 years old, and approximately a quarter are under five, the IOM added.

Aid agencies say a lack of data has prevented an official declaration of a famine, while the UN accuses both sides of “systematic obstructions and deliberate denials” of humanitarian access.

Both sides have been accused of war crimes, including deliberately targeting civilians, indiscriminate shelling of residential areas and blocking humanitarian aid.

Widespread sexual violence has also been reported, amounting to crimes against humanity, according to the UN.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies