UNHCR gravely concerned as refugees fleeing fighting in Sudan arrive in Chad

GENEVA — UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is greatly alarmed by the escalating violence in Sudan as the first refugees fleeing the fighting have found safety in Chad.

In the past days, an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people have fled the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region to seek refuge in neighbouring Chad, according to UNHCR teams present at the border.

The majority of those arriving are women and children, who are currently sheltering out in the open. UNHCR is working closely with the Government of Chad and its partners to assess their needs and prepare a joint response.

The initial, most pressing, needs are water, food, shelter, health care, child protection, and prevention of gender-based violence. Due to the violence experienced by those crossing the border, psychosocial support is also among our top priorities.

UNHCR is coordinating with the Chad authorities to support the registration of the new arrivals in the coming days. UNHCR and partners are undertaking protection and border monitoring activities at key entry points.

Eastern Chad already hosts over 400,000 refugees from Sudan and the new arrivals are placing additional strain on the country's overstretched public services and resources.

“Tragically we have already received reports of refugees caught in the ongoing fighting in Sudan,” said Raouf Mazou, UNHCR's Assistant High Commissioner for Operations. “It is urgent that the conflict stops to prevent the loss of more lives. We reiterate our call for all parties to protect civilians, including refugees and displaced people, and to respect the safety of humanitarian staff so that critical aid can be delivered.”

UNHCR remains ready to respond and support as needed in Sudan and the region.