Sudan |2023| CBPF
Sudan, Port Sudan. On the outskirts of Port Sudan, an unassuming old building known as Alshahinat gathering centre belies its capacity to house over 1,000 people. Each of these people sought refuge here, escaping the conflict that erupted in Khartoum in mid-April.
Maij Ankoni and her six children made their way to Alshahinat in June, fleeing from the Mayo neighborhood in southern Khartoum. Recently, she received a package of non-food household supplies, provided by the international NGO (INGO) Welthungerhilfe (WHH). This bundle included a cooking pot, a knife, various pots and pans, plates, cups – the basics for a small family.
The building, once a dormitory, now accommodates these displaced families, with each family allocated a room. “Each family here comprises between 8 to 12 members, making us a community of over 1,000 people. Surprisingly, more than half of us are South Sudanese refugees who had been living in Khartoum,” explained Bee, a 20-year-old South Sudanese refugee who now calls Port Sudan home.
In addition to South Sudanese refugees, there are also displaced individuals from Chad, Niger, Eritrea, and Syria, who found themselves uprooted from their lives in Khartoum due to the ongoing conflict. Mohammed, a Chadian refugee in his early twenties, shares, “We are approximately four or five refugee families from Chad. I was born in Khartoum and spent most of my life there. When the conflict erupted, we had no choice but to seek refuge here.”
Many residents are displaced Sudanese. A mother, who recently arrived with her seven-months-old son Mohamed, shared their journey. “We fled from Khartoum and briefly settled in Wad Madani before coming here. My son appears to have some leg muscle issues, but we’re unsure about the right specialist to see, and we lack the funds for medical care.”
Currently, WHH is transporting 20,000 liters of water daily to the site, a crucial lifeline for those displaced. Funding from the Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SHF) has made this possible. “This allocation equates to approximately 20 liters of water per person per day, well within the SPHERE standards,” Mahmud Elhaj, Head of the WHH office in Port Sudan, emphasized.
In a bid to improve living conditions, WHH is in the process of installing pumps and a water reservoir to ensure a stable supply of 20 tons of clean water for both refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) at the site. “In just a few days, the entire water system will be operational, offering a sustainable solution for clean water access,” Elhaj said.
The conflict that erupted in April has led to the displacement of approximately 4.2 million people within Sudan, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) update. Out of these, approximately 107,600 individuals have sought shelter and assistance in Red Sea State and its capital, Port Sudan. UNHCR reports that roughly 1.07 million people have fled to neighboring countries. Notably, about 188,000 refugees who were already residing in Sudan before the current crisis have either been displaced or have voluntarily relocated within Sudan, including 16,000 refugees who now call Port Sudan their new home.