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UN: Almost 4k killed, hundreds of thousands flee homes in Sudan fighting


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United Nations: Marking six months since fighting began in Sudan on April 15, a UN spokesman said on Tuesday almost 4,000 people were killed and thousands of others injured.

UN humanitarians said the fighting also sent hundreds of thousands of people into neighboring South Sudan and Chad.

Stephane Dujarric, chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported that the majority of the casualties between April 15 and August are believed to have been targeted mainly due to their ethnicity, particularly in West Darfur.

Dujarric said at least 29 cities, towns and villages were looted and razed across Darfur.

“UNHCR and partners provided displaced families in North and West Darfur with core relief items,” he said. “And of course, the agency, and all of us at the UN, continue to call on the parties to the conflict to guarantee the protection of civilians, including refugees and internally displaced human beings, and to ensure safe passage of humanitarian assistance wherever it’s needed.”

The fighting erupted first in the capital, Khartoum, between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the previously allied Rapid Support Forces and spread throughout the country.

The violence sent thousands fleeing to safer locations within Sudan and neighboring nations.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported thousands of people continue to arrive daily in South Sudan. As of Friday, 310,000 people crossed the border into South Sudan, most of them returning South Sudanese refugees. The number also included Sudanese refugees and third-country nationals.

The humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan, Marie-Helene Verney, warns that as the weeks go by, people are arriving with fewer and fewer resources and in an increasingly poor state of health. Malnutrition is also rising among new arrivals as conditions in Sudan deteriorate further.

The International Organization for Migration and its partners helped 150,000 people reach their final destinations. South Sudan also transported thousands of people while many others found their own way.

The humanitarians said additional funding is needed to provide life-saving nutrition services to thousands of children arriving from Sudan. There is also an urgent need to provide adequate space in overcrowded transit centers to reduce the risks of disease outbreaks and gender-based violence.

“South Sudan continues to face overlapping crises, including floods, conflict and food insecurity,” OCHA said. “Some 9.4 million people – 76 percent of the population – need humanitarian assistance. The 1.7 billion U.S. dollar Humanitarian Response Plan for South Sudan is just more than half funded.”

The spokesman said on Monday that Violette Kakyomya, the humanitarian coordinator in Sudan’s neighbor to the west, Chad, reported the conflict triggered a refugee rush, initiating multiple humanitarian crises.

Speaking in Geneva, she said most of the nearly 490,000 refugees crossing the border into eastern Chad to seek safety and protection are mostly women and children.

The influx brought the total number of refugees living in Chad to one million, Dujarric said, meaning that one in 17 people who live in Chad is a refugee.

He said the conflict in Sudan also affects Chad’s supply chain, with the region’s prices of basic food commodities more than doubled. Food insecurity and malnutrition affect 5.7 million people.

” Kakyomya underlined the extreme generosity of the people in Chad who continue to welcome refugees and call for support to ensure a sustained humanitarian support as 7 million Chadians – out of 18 million – need humanitarian assistance this year,” Dujarric said.

The 921 million U.S. dollar Humanitarian Response Plan for Chad is a little more than 25 percent funded.

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