Displaced Sudanese women from the Darfur region | Photo: EPA/Khaled El Fiqi
Displaced Sudanese women from the Darfur region | Photo: EPA/Khaled El Fiqi

The UN Refugee Agency UNHCR has denounced that recent violence in western Darfur has forced tens of thousands of people to flee, stressing that their living conditions are terrible.

Clashes in El Geneina, in Sudan's West Darfur State, have forced over 11,000 people to flee as refugees into neighboring Chad since last month, UNHCR said in a statement published on January 30. 

The UN agency stressed that 4,000 of them have fled during the last week alone and it is estimated that the clashes have displaced some 46,000 inside the country. The majority of the people involved had already been displaced during previous attacks in West Darfur at the end of December 2019, including on displacement camps. 

At the time, people fled and found temporary shelter in schools, mosques and other buildings in El Geneina, UNHCR said. Since El Geneina is only 20 km from the border, thousands of refugees have crossed into neighboring Chad. 

Tens of thousands fleeing violence 

UNHCR said the number of refugees fleeing to Chad could reach 30,000 in the coming weeks as tensions persist. "UNHCR teams on the ground are hearing accounts of people fleeing after their villages, houses and properties were attacked, many burnt to the ground," the statement said. 

''In Chad, the refugees are currently scattered across several villages, along a line that spans nearly 100 kilometers near the border, around the town of Adré. This town already hosts 128,000 Sudanese refugees. 

Conditions are dire

"Most are staying in the open or under makeshift shelters, with little protection from the elements." More resources are necessary for the crisis UNHCR, its government counterpart and humanitarian partners are working on the ground to coordinate the response to the emergency, registering refugees and providing lifesaving aid including food, water and relief items, the organization said.

Refugees with special needs, including unaccompanied children, are being identified and assisted.However, the UN agency stressed that the rate of refugee arrivals risks outpacing its capacity and more resources will be necessary to bolster the response.In collaboration with the government of Chad, UNHCR said it is working to find an area further from the border where refugees can be relocated and receive the security and assistance they desperately need.

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