Clashes erupted in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum on April 15 between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and a paramilitary group called the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Fighting has been escalating since, with reports of at least 185 people killed and 1,800 injured, according to the United Nations special representative for Sudan Volker Perthes.
Media reports say residents are largely having to remain indoors as fighting is ongoing, with confusion over which areas are controlled by which group. Hospitals have reportedly been under attack as well as civilian planes damaged.
The United Nations and a number of governments have called on the warring sides to cease fighting, with some raising fears of a civil war on the horizon if the situation continues to escalate. At the same time, humanitarian agencies warn that continued escalations could lead to a refugee crisis with “catastrophic consequences that will reverberate throughout the region."
The conflict is taking place in a country where many people have already had to flee their homes due to violence or natural disasters, whether within Sudan or a neighboring country. According to UNHCR, Sudan is home to almost 1 million refugees, and hosts the second highest number of refugees in Africa, with Khartoum and White Nile States together home to more than half of all refugees in Sudan.
The following chart uses International Organization for Migration (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) data from a recent OCHA report to show the breakdown of the number of people internally displaced in 2022 alone. It finds that 313,683 people were newly displaced due to conflict and violence, while more than 990 people were killed and almost 1,200 left injured. That year, floods forced a further 103,091 people to leave their homes. According to the report, the Blue Nile (with 127,961 IDPs, making up 30.6 percent of all displacements), West Darfur (95,949 IDPs, or 22.8 percent), South Darfur (46,849 IDPs, or 11.2 percent) and Gedaref (34,357 IDPs, or 8.2 percent), were the regions with the highest number of displacements registered.
In light of not only conflicts but also disasters associated with climate shocks, disease outbreaks and economic deterioration, the OCHA predicts that 15.8 million people will be in need of humanitarian assistance in the country in 2023.