OVER 400,000 people, mostly women and children, have fled Sudan for Chad, nearly doubling the number of the Sudanese refugees being hosted by the country.

Chad is in urgent need of further international support to help it cope with the surge in the number of refugees arriving from war-torn Sudan, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said.

During a four-day visit to Chad, alongside the World Bank Managing Director for Operations, Anna Bjerde, Grandi witnessed the dire humanitarian situation unfolding on the ground and called for greater international effort to address the urgent and long-term needs of the displaced people and their hosts.

“I have been inspired by the generosity and the solidarity of the people of Chad and the tireless efforts of their government to welcome the refugees. The international community, including development actors, must redouble their commitment to help them”, said Grandi.

In just over four months, the conflict in neighbouring Sudan has forced a staggering number of people to cross into Chad in search of safety. As of 6 September, more than 400,000 refugees had arrived in the provinces of Ouaddaï, Sila, and Wadi Fira. Disturbingly, 86 per cent of these refugees are women and children, underscoring the critical nature of the situation and the specific needs.

Refugees, scarred by the trauma of their perilous journeys, are arriving in desperate condition, particularly in the border town of Adre, which hosts over 150,000 refugees in a spontaneous settlement while another 75,000 refugees have been transferred from Adre to two newly built refugee settlements.

While humanitarian partners have made considerable efforts to ensure access to basic services such as health, water, sanitation and food, the region already hosts some 400,000 refugees from Darfur. The new influx is putting pressure on already stretched resources and communities, with current funding levels insufficient to address both the emergency and long-term development needs of refugees and their hosts.

“These refugees and the communities hosting them cannot afford to wait for the crisis to end to receive the world’s attention and support. We must continue to urgently bolster the humanitarian response today, while laying the foundations for strong socio-economic development for the future “, Grandi said. “This is why visiting Chad and especially the Eastern provinces with the World Bank has been so important – this is a clear case in which humanitarian and development actors must work together: what we need here is emergency development to ensure the resilience of all those impacted.”

During the visit, the World Bank announced a new package of grants amounting to US$340 million, to help in addressing the multiple shocks the country is facing.

Since the influx began, UNHCR and its partners have relocated about half of newly arrived refugees to secure and suitable accommodation sites. However, nearly 170,000 people in Adre and other border zones, along with new arrivals every day, are still awaiting urgent relocation, dependent on the availability of resources.

Over 5.2 million people have been displaced by the Sudan conflict, including over 400,000 refugees in Chad – the largest host – but so far only about US $207.3 million has been received against total requirements of US $1 billion for the regional refugee response.

* Source: The UN Refugee Agency