Hundreds of thousands forced to flee their homes in Sudan amid fighting

More than 700,000 people have fled their homes in Sudan to escape from fighting between rival military factions, the International Organization for Migration said on Tuesday.

Over 150,000 people have left the country since the conflict began on 15 April. Last week, the UN agency said about 340,000 people were internally displaced.

"It's very difficult right now (for them) to find money,"  IOM spokesperson Paul Dillon said. "The ATMs aren't working and the banking system is not functioning. Fuel is difficult to come by and expensive."

At the same briefing, the World Health Organization said 604 people had been killed and more than 5,000 injured since the violence erupted.

According to UN estimates, an additional five million people will require humanitarian aid, bringing the total to 21 million people since the war began.

Amr Nabil/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
A Saudi commando stands alert as Yemeni evacuees disembark Saudi HMS Abha ship, coming from Port Sudan, after docking at Jeddah port, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, May 7, 2023. - Amr Nabil/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved

“No major progress” has been made at the talks in Jeddah, where the warring sides have sent representatives, a Saudi diplomat told agencies.

“A permanent ceasefire isn't on the table. Every side believes it is capable of winning the battle,” the source said.

Kholood Khair, the founder of the Khartoum-based think tank Confluence Advisory, said the delegations “are there mostly to curry favours with the Saudis and the Americans, rather than to credibly use this platform as a means to reach an agreement”.

Several ceasefires have been breached as both sides continued to launch attacks and compete for military gain.

The aid operation in Sudan remains severely underfunded.

“The only fully funded operation in the world now is in Ukraine. All other operations are catastrophically underfunded,” said Jan Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

These events are the consequence of a fight for power since a 2021 military coup between two generals: army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan and RSF (Rapid Support Forces) commander Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo.

Both generals have positioned themselves as saviours of Sudan and guardians of democracy – in a country which has known only brief democratic interludes.

The battles that began in April followed bitter disagreements between Burhan and Daglo over the planned integration of the RSF into the regular army – a key condition for a final deal aimed at resuming the democratic transition.