The United Nations said on Wednesday $3.03 billion would be needed to provide urgent aid in conflict-torn Sudan and to drive more than a million people to flee to neighboring countries this year.
Needs have skyrocketed since bloody conflict broke out in Sudan last month, the UN said, drastically revising its response plan.
“Today, 25 million people, more than half the population of Sudan, are in need of humanitarian aid and protection,” Ramesh Rajasingham, head of the UN humanitarian agency’s Geneva office, told reporters.
“That’s the highest number we’ve seen in the country.”
Battles broke out on April 15 between army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who heads the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
Around 1,000 people have died in and around Khartoum and in the devastated state of Western Darfur, according to doctors.
More than 5,000 people have been injured and millions more remain confined to their homes, unable to access basic services and medical care, Rajasingham said.
He also pointed to “troubling reports of increased sexual violence” and warned that “children are especially vulnerable in this unfolding chaos.”
The fighting has deepened the humanitarian crisis in Sudan, where one in three already relied on aid before the war.
– ‘Regional crisis’ –
The UN said $2.56 billion is now expected to be needed to provide assistance inside Sudan, up from an estimated $1.75 billion late last year.
Those funds will enable aid agencies to reach 18 million of the most vulnerable people inside the country, Rajasingham said.
He regretted that the humanitarian community has suffered numerous attacks, with humanitarian workers killed, offices and warehouses looted.
He expressed the hope that the agreement reached by the two sides last week to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure and allow in much-needed aid is having some effect.
He said fighters had withdrawn from some of the previously occupied health facilities and highlighted an increase in aid deliveries, but added: “We need a lot more.”
“The crisis in Sudan is rapidly evolving into a regional crisis.”
The UN refugee agency said $470.4 million would be needed to help those fleeing the country and now plans up to 1.1 million people to leave Sudan this year.
Just two weeks ago, UNHCR had said it would need $445 million through October to address the needs of some 860,000 people who may be fleeing.
– ‘Broken’ –
“So far, the crisis… resulted in a mass departure to neighboring countries of some 220,000 refugees and returnees,” Raouf Mazou, deputy head of operations for the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, told reporters.
Additionally, more than 700,000 people have been displaced within Sudan by the fighting.
Of the more than 1 million expected to leave Sudan, 640,000 would likely be Sudanese refugees and 204,000 people who had been living as refugees inside Sudan, returning to their country of origin, mainly South Sudan, the UN said.
Before the conflict, Sudan hosted around 1.1 million refugees.
“Those who have fled across the country’s many borders are torn apart, often leaving behind or losing loved ones and finding themselves in places where access is extremely difficult and resources are minimal,” Mazou said.
He noted that those fleeing Sudan were in many cases arriving in “very, very remote places” that were difficult to access, in countries where humanitarian needs were severely underfunded.