On World Refugee Day, Sudan conflict seen as making global displacement crisis worse

Refugees from Sudan who crossed into Ethiopia carry their belongings in Metema on May 5, 2023. (AFP)
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Updated 20 June 2023

On World Refugee Day, Sudan conflict seen as making global displacement crisis worse

  • Some 108.4 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide in 2022, according to the UN refugee agency
  • Climate change and natural disasters may soon overtake conflict as the main drivers of displacement

DUBAI: When two extreme athletes decided to take on a grueling challenge to row across the Atlantic Ocean in solidarity with refugees, they did not expect to experience the same terror endured by the millions of displaced people who attempt such perilous crossings every year.

Omar Samra, an Egyptian adventurer and motivational speaker, along with his good friend and professional athlete Omar Nour, tell their story in the award-winning documentary “Beyond the Raging Sea.”

The film follows the duo as they fight for their lives on the high sea, stranded in open water for hours when their boat suddenly capsizes mid-storm during their journey from the Canary Islands to Antigua in 2017.

“I think the main lesson that we learnt through our experience is that while our journey bears some similarities to the plight of refugees, it’s very different, because we embarked on this journey by choice,” Samra told Arab News via a Zoom interview.

Omar Samra, Egyptian adventurer and motivational speaker, along with his good friend and professional athlete Omar Nour, rowing across the Atlantic. (Supplied)

“We had the best training and best equipment … but to think that someone would go through all of this to try and get to the other side to understand that their problems are only starting is something that is very daunting.”

To mark World Refugee Day on June 20, Samra and dozens of public figures and influencers have come forward on multiple online platforms to highlight the rapidly growing global displacement crisis.

In its latest report, “Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2022,” the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, recorded the highest levels of displacement on record, with 108.4 million individuals forcibly displaced worldwide by conflict, violence, persecution, or human rights violations.

This year World Refugee Day is being observed in the shadow of yet another grinding conflict and massive displacement crisis — this time in Sudan.

Since the armed conflict erupted between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces in mid-April, hundreds of thousands have been displaced, both within the nation’s borders and into neighboring countries.

Sudanese drivers wait by their buses upon arrival at the Egyptian village of Wadi Karkar near Aswan on May 14, 2023 after fleeing war-torn Sudan. (AFP)

Rula Amin, spokesperson for the UNHCR’s Middle East and North Africa regional bureau, believes the best and most effective way to stop these numbers increasing is to end the conflict and resolve the dispute through negotiations.

In the meantime, neighboring countries, including Egypt, Libya, Chad, Ethiopia, the Central African Republic and Eritrea, can help the people of Sudan by keeping their borders open to people escaping the conflict, she said.

“People fleeing, seeking protection, should have access to territory regardless of how they arrive,” Amin told Arab News.

“Neighboring countries can help by hosting people crossing the border and ensuring they receive support and access to services.”

However, in order for host countries to shoulder this responsibility successfully, Amin emphasizes the need for the international community to lend support.

While there are several countries around the world that are making changes to accommodate displaced communities, the influx of refugees places significant economic and social strain on host nations, said Dr. Sonia Ben Jaafar, CEO of the Emirates-based Abdulla Al-Ghurair Foundation, which oversees the Abdul Aziz Refugee Education Fund.

Lebanon and Jordan have faced particular challenges in providing basic services, such as housing, healthcare, education and employment opportunities, for both their own populations and vast numbers of predominantly Syrian and Palestinian refugees, she said.

Dr. Sonia Ben Jaafar, CEO of the Emirates-based Abdulla Al-Ghurair Foundation, which oversees the Abdul Aziz Refugee Education Fund. (Supplied)

“Insufficient financial support from the international community can limit the capacity of countries like Lebanon and Jordan, and exacerbate tensions within host communities, leading to further challenges and potential instability,” Ben Jaafar told Arab News.

She emphasized the need for massive, coordinated efforts to strengthen regional and international partnerships that can “facilitate burden-sharing and alignment of humanitarian efforts.”

Without viable and sustainable conflict resolution through diplomatic efforts, which Sudan lacks today, prolonged displacement is inevitable, she added.

Until recently, Sudan was home to the second-largest refugee population in Africa, with more than a million displaced people from South Sudan, Eritrea, Syria, Ethiopia, the Central African Republic, Chad and Yemen.

However, Sudan’s own descent into violence has disrupted whole communities caught in the crossfire, including 3.5 million Sudanese already internally displaced and the 1.1 million refugees who had taken shelter there, according to the UN.


This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

“If fighting continues, the number of people forced to flee their homes looking for safety will increase,” said Amin.

An estimated 1.2 million people were newly displaced within Sudan and a further 378,300 had fled to neighboring countries as of the end of May. The number of food-insecure people in the country, which the UN expects to increase by more than 2 million in the next three to six months, further compounds the humanitarian emergency.

“The parties fighting on the ground must adhere to international principles and avoid targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure,” said Amin, who added that the widely-reported human rights violations in the country “must stop immediately.”

Several other regions of the world are witnessing a massive spike in the number of refugees, including Europe in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, and parts of Central Asia owing to the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan in 2021.

According to the UN report, more than half of all refugees and other people in need of international protection come from just three countries — Syria (6.5 million), Afghanistan (5.7 million), and Ukraine (5.7 million).

“Countries within the Eastern Mediterranean Region, such as Syria, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen and Sudan, to name a few, are home to about three-quarters of those internally displaced, creating a dire need for expanding access to basic services to migrants to tackle inequalities,” said Ben Jaafar.

And with each passing year of displacement, issues like food and water security, sanitation, healthcare, personal safety, housing and education are becoming worse as host-nation resources become strained, she said.

“Education, in particular, is a critical area that offers significant potential for solutions amidst these challenges as the lack of educational opportunities for displaced children can lead to severe ramifications at personal, national and regional scales,” said Ben Jaafar.

Indeed, early marriage, barriers to mobility, financial constraints and child labor — to name but a few — can all be prevented by providing young refugees with education and training, she said.

However, millions of refugees who are either stateless or of undetermined nationality are unable to access essential services and basic rights, including education, healthcare, formal employment, or even the right to travel.

The UN report shows that an estimated 4.4 million people worldwide were either stateless or of undetermined nationality in 2022 — 90,800 more than at the end of 2021.

People evacuated from the Belgorod region’s zones bordering Ukraine, including those from the town of Shebekino, receive humanitarian aid in Belgorod on June 3, 2023. (AFP)

The crisis in Ukraine last year contributed significantly to the upward trajectory of the global displacement crisis. In February 2022, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine alone created the largest displacement crisis since the Second World War.

In the early days of the war, more than 200,000 refugees per day were crossing borders in search of sanctuary, initially in countries adjacent to Ukraine. By the end of 2022, 11.6 million Ukrainians had been displaced, including 5.9 million internally displaced persons and 5.7 million who had fled to neighboring countries and beyond.

While millions of Ukrainian refugees received temporary protection, granted by EU member states and other countries, the highest number of new asylum applications ever recorded, at 2.6 million, were registered by more than 140 nationalities in 155 countries during 2022.

A large number of refugees were also reported to have returned to their homes, many due to a lack of alternative options.

UN data shows that both Syria and Afghanistan reported the largest numbers of returnees, with 51,300 Syrians returning to their country in 2022, up by 14,800 on 2021 figures, and some 236,200 returning to Afghanistan — 21 percent of them women and 57 percent children.

There have been some positive developments. The UN report also found that a cessation of fighting in northern Ethiopia, agreed in November 2022, resulted in 1.9 million internally displaced persons returning that year.

Afghan internally displaced refugee women walk with their children to the bus as they return home to a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the outskirts of Kabul on July 28, 2022. (AFP)

Similarly, in Yemen, a UN-coordinated ceasefire, which expired in October 2022 but continued to be broadly adhered to, brought hope to a country in which half of the population are food insecure.

“The challenge before us, therefore, is to work together towards a world that respects diversity and will empower refugees and facilitate their preparedness for economic participation,” said Ben Jaafar.

Globally, Turkiye, Iran, Colombia, Germany and Pakistan hosted the largest refugee populations at the end of 2022, including people in refugee-like situations and other people in need of international protection.

“There is definitely a challenge here (for host countries), but the conversation should be ‘how do we solve the challenge?’ rather than ‘do we take in people or not?’” said the Egyptian athlete, Samra.

While conflict and violence are some of the main factors behind the refugee crisis, Samra also pointed out that natural disasters and climate change are increasingly contributing to displacement.

“Research has predicted that the highest number of refugees is going to come from climate-change issues in the next decade,” he said.

The latest UN report shows that around 32.6 million new displacements were due to natural disasters, with 21 percent occurring in the least developed countries and small island developing states.

As a result of climate change, these countries have experienced disproportionately high economic losses in relation to the size of their economies.

“This is the very thing that threatens the existence of a country or a region,” said Samra.

Those with a public platform, including athletes, celebrities and public figures, have a responsibility to raise awareness, foster dialogue, and shift public perceptions on refugees, he added.

“I think the refugee crisis, along with the climate crisis, are the biggest issues that the world faces today, and the way we choose to deal with it, whether it’s in a humane way or otherwise, will dictate the face of our planet for years.”

Gaza conflict is a ‘war on women,’ says UN official 

Updated 18 July 2024

Gaza conflict is a ‘war on women,’ says UN official 

  • UN Women’s representative in Occupied Palestinian Territories unprepared ‘for the total destruction and inhumanity that I saw’ during visit to enclave this week 
  • A million women and girls are bearing ‘the worst brunt of nine months of war,’ she says, and ‘there are no safe places to be a woman in Gaza’ 

NEW YORK CITY: Returning from a mission to the Gaza strip, an official from UN Women said that despite more 50 visits to the enclave in the six years since she took up her position, including one during the 2021 war, “nothing prepared me for the total destruction and inhumanity that I saw.” 

Speaking in Jerusalem on Thursday, Maryse Guimond, the agency’s representative in the Occupied Palestinian Territories said that what she witnessed exceeded her worst fears about the plight of women and girls living in Gaza, some of whom she has worked with for many years. 

“It was unbearable to witness the daily escalation of violence and destruction of a war on women, with no end in sight,” Guimond said, her voice choked by emotion. 

She said wars are never gender-neutral and that is “undoubtedly” the case in Gaza, where a million women and girls are bearing “the worst brunt of nine months of war.” 

Guimond added: “They are losing their lives. They are sick, hungry, exhausted, holding families together despite their constant fear and loss. Each woman I met has a story of loss.” 

UN Women said more than 10,000 Palestinian women have lost their lives in the war, which is now in its 10th month, more than 6,000 families have lost their mothers, and nearly a million women and girls have lost loved ones and “their life memories.” 

“Gaza is more than 2 million stories of loss,” said Guimond. “Women in Gaza are living in constant movement, constant fear, being constantly chased. 

“There are no safe places to be a woman in Gaza, where nine out of 10 people are displaced.” 

UN Women infographic

Almost a million women and girls have been displaced several times, forced to move to ever-smaller areas where they become targets of attacks and bombings, she added. 

“They move with no cash, with no possessions and with no clue how and where they’re going to live,” said Guimond. 

“Many women told me that they will not move again, as it does not make a difference for their safety or survival.” 

Gazans have endured 18 waves of displacements, with no guarantee of any safety for anyone, she added. 

When she arrived in the battered Strip on her latest visit, Guimond said she did not recognize it as the Gaza she once knew. 

“I entered the world of devastation and total deprivation; mosques, hospitals, shops, schools, universities have been destroyed,” she said. 

“Crowds of men, women and children trying to survive in makeshift tents and overcrowded shelters surrounded by rubble and total destruction, amid the continued sounds of fighting and drones.” 

She said she barely recognized women she had known before the war: “The last nine months are embedded on their faces, on their bodies.” 

UN Women estimates 557,000 Palestinian women are suffering from acute food insecurity. Guimond said that these women are “eating the last and the least” among their families, and “skipping meals and not eating healthy food for months and months.” 

She praised the women of Gaza for their “remarkable strength and humanity in their struggle to survive with hope and solidarity, despite the devastation. 

“I have met amazing women who are taking care of their families and their community in the face of starvation, of death and disease, of displacement.” 

She called on the international community to support the work of women-led organizations in Gaza, and ensure there are places for women at the table when decisions are being made. 

“The question is not what women need, the question should be what they don’t need,” said Guimond. “Women don’t want to die. They don’t want to bury their loved ones. They don’t want to be left alone to suffer.” 

She also echoed calls by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the opening of all land crossings to grant full access to the territory for the delivery of humanitarian aid, and for all Israeli hostages to be released. 

Militant groups defiant as Israel rapped for ‘cowardly assassination’ in southern Lebanon

Updated 18 July 2024

Militant groups defiant as Israel rapped for ‘cowardly assassination’ in southern Lebanon

  • Latest Israeli drone attack killed Mohammed Hamed Jabara, a leader in Al-Jama’ah Al-Islamiyah
  • 466 dead, thousands of homes razed in more than 9 months of conflict; value of damage estimated at $1.7 billion
  • Hezbollah leader Nasrallah has warned that the group will target new Israeli settlements if Israel continues to ‘target civilians’ in Lebanon

BEIRUT: Israel’s assault on Lebanon extended beyond the southern border area to western Bekaa on Thursday, resulting in at least two deaths in separate attacks.

In the morning, an Israeli drone targeted an SUV on the road to the town of Ghazze in western Bekaa, resulting in the death of its driver.

The target was identified as Mohammed Hamed Jabara, a leader in Al-Jama’ah Al-Islamiyah, or the Islamic Group. He hailed from the town of Qaraoun in western Bekaa.

He was an active militant in the party’s military wing, the Al-Fajr Forces, which is allied with Hezbollah in the confrontation with Israel.

According to a source from his hometown, Jabara had previously been pursued by Israel “due to his resistance activities and had faced multiple threats and assassination attempts, which only succeeded now.”

The Al-Fajr Forces described Jabara as “one of their leaders” in an obituary.

Hamas’ military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, also mourned Jabara as “one of their leaders.”

In another incident on Thursday morning, an Israeli drone targeted a vehicle on the road to Jbal El-Botm in the Tyre district in the south.

The driver tried to escape the drone but was pursued and killed by a missile.

He was identified as Hussein Ali Mhanna, a 40-year-old Hezbollah member from Jbal El-Botm.

In a third attack, an Israeli drone targeted a car between Hanniyeh and Zibqin, injuring a Hezbollah member and another passenger.

The Israeli army conducted a sweep with machine guns toward Wazzani and targeted Chihine with a guided missile.

Israeli airstrikes and artillery also hit Aita Al-Shaab, the hills extending between Taoumat Niha and the highlands of Ain Al-Tineh in western Bekaa, without any reported injuries.

The intense Israeli escalation followed Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah’s threat to “target more settlements if Israel continues targeting civilians.”

The Israeli response was “a message demonstrating the army’s capability to continue killings and its ability to monitor Hezbollah field leaders, and know their identities and type of missions,” said one political observer.

In a statement, the Islamic Group held Israel responsible for Jabara’s “cowardly assassination.”

The attack “will not deter us from performing our role and duty in defending our land and people in the south, nor from supporting our people in Palestine,” the party said.

Hezbollah responded to the Israeli attacks with hostile operations targeting military sites, including “newly installed espionage equipment” on a crane at the Hadab Yarin site.

Israeli jets broke the sound barrier over the south more than four times, causing panic and damage to homes, including the partial collapse a roof in the town of Kfar Tebnit. Residents escaped without injury.

The military escalation has led to increased casualties in southern Lebanon as Israel pursues an aggressive strategy against Hezbollah.

The number of civilian casualties exceeded 107 as of July 14, a report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

Total casualties amounted to 466, including Hezbollah-affiliated military personnel.

More than 98,000 people have been internally displaced in southern Lebanon after artillery reached within 12 km of the Blue Line.

Almost 98 percent of the displaced hail from the Bint Jbeil, Marjaayoun and Tyre districts, the OCHA report said.

Israeli airstrikes have also reached deep into the country, extending up to 100 km from the Blue Line.

The OCHA warned of severe damage to southern Lebanon’s water, electricity and telecommunications infrastructure, and roads.

Maintenance and repair workers have been injured or killed while trying to keep services running for the remaining residents, alongside medics and first responders.

“There has also been a noticeable increase in Israeli jets breaking the sound barrier over various Lebanese regions,” the report said, citing the South Council, which is responsible for assessing the damage.

Since Oct. 8 last year, about 3,000 housing units have been partially or entirely destroyed.

Additionally, 12,000 housing units have been severely damaged, and 20,000 units have sustained minor damage.

The report estimated the economic value of the damage at $1.7 billion.

The South Council reported that the agricultural sector lost 17 million sq. meters of land, mainly as a result of Israeli white phosphorus shelling, with effects that will last for years.

Farmers also cannot harvest crops from 12 million sq. meters of land, the council said.

The OCHA report said that at least 13 water infrastructure sites had been damaged due to cross-border hostilities, impacting supply for almost 200,000 people in the south and Nabatieh.

Water fee collection has fallen to almost zero in the southern and Nabatieh governorates, putting the South Lebanon Water Establishment in a challenging situation.

The agricultural sector has been heavily impacted. On July 8, more than 800 farm animals were killed in an Israeli attack on a farm in Jabal Tora, Jezzine.

Lebanon’s Agriculture Ministry condemned the attack and called on international intervention to “make those responsible pay and provide aid to farmers.”

According to the report, on July 11, UNIFIL expressed concern “about the high level of tension seen recently and the potential for miscalculations that could lead to a sudden and wider conflict.”

The OCHA said that 82 percent of the internally displaced live with host families, while 15 percent rent houses.

Another 2 percent have relocated to secondary residences. About 1 percent are housed across 16 shelters.

According to the International Organization for Migration, 19 percent of the displaced live in overcrowded conditions.

About 33 percent are children, while 34 percent are women and 33 percent men.

Amnesty urges ‘end to incommunicado detention of Gazans’

Updated 18 July 2024

Amnesty urges ‘end to incommunicado detention of Gazans’

  • Amnesty called for the repeal of the Unlawful Combatants Law
  • The law “enables rampant torture”

JERUSALEM: Amnesty International has called on Israel to end the indefinite detention of Gaza Palestinians and what it called “rampant torture” in its prisons.
“Israeli authorities must end their indefinite incommunicado detention of Palestinians from the occupied Gaza Strip, without charge or trial ... (which is) in flagrant violation of international law,” the rights group
said in a statement.
Amnesty called for the repeal of the Unlawful Combatants Law, amended following the beginning of the Gaza war, which allows Israeli forces to hold people without charge or trial for months.
The law “enables rampant torture and, in some circumstances, institutionalizes enforced disappearance,” Amnesty said.
It said the law allows Israeli troops to arrest security suspects “for indefinitely renewable periods without having to produce evidence to substantiate the claims.”
Amnesty said it had documented 27 cases of Palestinians, including five women and a 14-year-old boy, who were detained “for up to four and a half months” without being able to contact their families.
All 27 told of how “they were subjected to torture and other ill-treatment,” the organization said.
The detainees were seized across the Gaza Strip from shelters, homes, hospitals, and checkpoints.
Said Maarouf, a 57-year-old pediatrician detained for 45 days in the Sde Teiman camp in southern Israel, told Amnesty “that detention guards kept him blindfolded and handcuffed for the entire duration of his detention, and described being starved, repeatedly beaten, and forced to sit on his knees for long periods.”
Contacted by AFP this week about similar accusations made by the Palestinian Authority minister for prisoner affairs, the Israeli military said it “rejects outright allegations concerning systematic abuse of detainees in the ‘Sde Teiman’ detention facility, including allegations of sexually abusing
It said that Israel’s detention conditions were within international law.
Under the amended Unlawful Combatants Law, Israel can detain prisoners for 45 days without an administrative process, compared with 96 hours previously.
Prisoners can be held for 75 days without a court hearing, up from 14 days, which can be extended to 180 days.
All of the Palestinians quoted by Amnesty said that during their detention, “Israeli military, intelligence, and police forces subjected them to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”
The Israeli Prison Service told Israeli NGO Hamoked that as of July 1, there were 1,402 Palestinians detained under the law, excluding those held on an initial 45-day period without a formal order.
According to the Prisoners Club, a Palestinian watchdog, about 9,600 Palestinians are currently in Israeli jails, including hundreds under administrative detention.
The NGO estimates that arrests have doubled since Oct. 7 compared to the same period last year.

Turkiye, Niger agree to enhance defense cooperation

Updated 18 July 2024

Turkiye, Niger agree to enhance defense cooperation

ANKARA: Turkiye and Niger agreed to boost cooperation on energy, mining, intelligence, and defense after the West African nation asked Western military personnel to leave and terminated the mining contracts of many Western countries.
Turkiye’s Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, along with Defense Minister Yasar Guler, Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar, and head of the MIT intelligence agency Ibrahim Kalin visited Niger’s capital Niamey on Wednesday.
As well as their ministerial counterparts, the Turkish delegation met with Niger’s leader Gen. Abdourahmane Tiani, who took power in July last year after the military council he led ousted President Mohamed Bazoum and shifted the country’s allegiances.
The junta kicked out French troops and ordered the US to withdraw its military personnel from the country. It also severed security pacts with the EU.
The Turkish ministers’ visit to Niamey comes two months after Niger’s Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara.
On Wednesday, Turkish and Niger officials discussed improving cooperation in defense intelligence, Fidan told reporters after their talks.
A Turkish Defense Ministry official said on Thursday that Guler discussed ways to enhance cooperation between Turkiye and Niger in defense and military training.
The two countries signed a declaration of will to support and encourage Turkish companies to improve oil and natural gas fields in Niger, Turkiye’s Energy Ministry said on Wednesday.
Niger has Africa’s highest-grade uranium ores, and it is also the world’s seventh-biggest producer of uranium.
But Ankara is not seeking to buy uranium from Niger for its first nuclear power plant being built by Russia’s Rosatom at Akkuyu in Turkiye’s Mediterranean region, a Turkish diplomatic source said.

Displaced Sudanese eat dirt to survive, children too tired to cry says US envoy to UN

Updated 18 July 2024

Displaced Sudanese eat dirt to survive, children too tired to cry says US envoy to UN

  • Linda Thomas-Greenfield calls on international donors to honor the pledges of aid for Sudan they made during Paris conference in April
  • She says efforts continue in attempt to reach ceasefire agreement between rival military factions, and to open up access for humanitarian aid

NEW YORK CITY: The US representative to the UN on Thursday painted a dire picture of the situation affecting the people of Sudan, which she said continues to be “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.”

Linda Thomas-Greenfield lamented the international silence regarding the tragedy that is unfolding in the civil war-ravaged country, and the failure of donors to honor a significant proportion of their financial pledges of aid for Sudan made during an international conference in Paris on April 15.

The conflict in the country erupted in April 2023, between two rival factions of the country’s military government: the Sudanese Armed Forces under Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces led by Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, more commonly known as Hemedti.

More than 10 million Sudanese civilians have been displaced by the conflict, including more than 2 million who have fled to neighboring countries in search of safety, Thomas-Greenfield said. The number of refugees from Sudan in Chad alone doubled during the first 12 months of the conflict, with more civilians fleeing there in a single year than during the previous 25 years combined, she added.

About 25. 6 million people now face food insecurity at crisis level or worse, Thomas-Greenfield said. About a third of them are dealing with emergency conditions and 750,000 people, including women, children, the very old and the very young, are at risk of famine and starvation.

Recalling her trip to a refugee camp in Chad last year, she said people were “eating dirt to survive, tree leaves for nutrition,” and children were so weak “they lacked energy to even cry.”

She added: “The room was quiet, totally quiet. That level of suffering is occurring all over Sudan, over and over and over again.

“I’ve said (before that) this is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. And that has not changed. And sadly, the silence I heard that day in Chad has been met with even more silence across the world.”

Three months after the conference Paris, Thomas-Greenfield said, only two-thirds of the pledges have been paid out and only about a quarter of the required response to the crisis has been funded.

She also warned that humanitarian access to the country, which is “already severely restricted by the parties to the conflict, threatens to even further shrink.”

She highlighted in particular continued obstruction by the Sudanese Armed Forces at the Adre crossing on the border between Chad and West Darfur.

“This obstruction is completely unacceptable,” she said. “To make matters worse, experts predict that the rainy season will decrease already severely restricted cross-border access,

all while floodwaters worsen the already dire conditions in IDP (internally displaced persons) camps, putting hundreds of thousands at risk of waterborne diseases.”

Although the scale of the crisis is “overwhelming,” Thomas-Greenfield stressed that “now is not a moment to throw up our hands.”

She announced a further $203 million in humanitarian assistance from the US for the civilians in Sudan, Chad, Egypt and South Sudan who have been affected by “this brutal conflict,” and expressed hope that “this new round of aid serves as a call to action for others to follow suit.”

But she added that “this money is not a panacea,” and vowed her country will continue to urge the warring parties in Sudan to support “an immediate ceasefire and to remove barriers to humanitarian access and delivery of aid.”