Sudan + 1 more

Sudan Situation Report, 17 Dec 2020 [EN/AR]

Situation Report
Originally published
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  • UNHCR and COR have registered over 53,000 Ethiopian refugees in Kassala, Gedaref, and Blue Nile states.

  • The current second wave of COVID-19 in Sudan has a major socio-economic impact on families. The average daily COVID-19 cases recorded has reached between 200 and 300 in December.

  • Khartoum State accounts for about 78 per cent of all COVID-19 reported cases, but only for 37 per cent of the reported COVID-19 deaths.

  • The price of locally produced staple foods in Sudan continues to increase, despite the ongoing harvest.

  • The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) projection estimates that 7.1 million people (16% of the population) will face acute food insecurity in December 2020.


Ethiopian refugee influx into Sudan continues

Key figures:

  • 52,503 refugees registered (21 December, UNHCR)

  • $147 million needed to respond to the urgent needs of up to 100,000 Ethiopian refugees for six months

  • 20,572 refugees relocated from Hamdayet and Abdrafi border crossings to Um Raquba refugee camp


Since 9 November, Ethiopian asylum seekers have been arriving in eastern Sudan, fleeing a military escalation in the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia. Refugees are arriving in three locations along the border with Ethiopia in eastern Sudan, Hamdayet in Kassala State, Ludgi and Abderafi in Gedaref State and to a lesser extent into Wad Al Mahi locality in Blue Nile State. Refugees arrive exhausted from their long trek, with few belongings and need assistance. The Government of Sudan has kept its borders open to the refugee and hosting communities are supporting and sharing their resources with the new refugee arrivals. UNHCR and the Government’s Commission for Refugees (COR) are taking the lead on preparedness and response.


The Refugee Consultation Forum (RCF) launched an Inter-agency Emergency Refugee Response Plan to respond to the refugee influx into Sudan, with an $147 million appeal to meet the urgent needs of the new refugees. It brings together a multi-sectoral response with over 30 partners (UN agencies, national and international NGOs) covering an initial period of eight months from November 2020 until June 2021, with a likely scenario for 100,000 people and a worst-case scenario planning for 200,000 people. COVID-19 precautions are being implemented. Temperature screenings are in place for new arrivals at Hamdayet. UNHCR is distributing soaps and masks to new arrivals at transit centres, while social distancing is practiced at the registration areas, ensuring that there is a two-metre space between the refugees. In Hamdayet, UNHCR carries out COVID-19 awareness sessions on prevention measures, as well as safe water chain and food handling. UNHCR, COR as well as national and international partners are responding to the needs of the refugees at transit sites and camps.

Urgent Needs

  • There is need to improve and extend nutrition and food assistance services to all sites as current meal provision of both hot and cold foods is not meeting the increasing needs.

  • In Village 8 the increase in use of the water station in the nearby community and the damages it has incurred, local authorities have reduced UNHCR’s water trucking capacity to one water tank (out of two previously) to be refilled four times per day. This is adding additional strain on refugees in Village 8 and alternative access to water needs to be found to ensure refuges have sustainable access to water.

  • Access to latrines and waste management also remains a challenge.

  • Shortages in health staff, medicines and medical supplies, as well as laboratory diagnostic tests, beds and ambulances, are hindering the ability of health partners to respond to the increasing health needs, especially in Village 8.

  • Mass awareness and information campaigns to promote COVID-19 prevention measures and health and hygiene practices are required.

  • UNHCR has noticed that some refugees living in Hamdayet Town or hosted by the host communities did not register.

  • There is a high number of families that have become separated and refugees are asking for support with Family Tracing and Reunification. There is a need to expand temporary group care arrangements in the new communal shelters until family-based care can be found. NFI, shelter, clothing, and specialized psychosocial support should also be prioritized for foster families to ensure the children are safely accommodated and receive the care they need. Additional child-friendly spaces in Village 8 and Hamdayet are also needed. An increasing number of persons with disabilities have approached the protection desk, requesting services, such as hearing aids, crutches or cash assistance, which are currently unavailable.

  • At transit centres and border points, gaps remain in all sectors, from water, sanitation and hygiene to health facilities, food, and shelter.

  • Fuel shortages, limited numbers of vehicles and limited road access are a challenge to the relocation of the new arrivals and the provision of supplies to the different sites. Travelling from Hamdayet transit centre to Um Raquba alone takes approximately 12-13 hours by road, whereas accessing Village 8 requires travellers to cross a river with only a small ferry available. This has resulted in hours-long waiting times. UNHCR is working to scale up its transportation capacity to decongest the transit centre. However, some families do not want to relocate away from the border area.

For details on response and gaps please visit the UNHCR Sudan refugee situation operational portal.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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