Sudanese refugees in chad struggle to survive

In the wake of renewed civil strife in Sudan, a haunting tale unfolds in Chad’s refugee camps, where survival has become a daily struggle for those displaced by conflict.

Alabaki Abbas Ishag, a 24-year-old survivor, has spent a month eking out an existence in a makeshift border camp, emblematic of the millions uprooted by the brutal clashes between Sudan’s regular army and paramilitaries.

Ishag’s journey to safety was marked by harrowing experiences, having narrowly escaped the massacres ravaging Sudan’s Darfur region. For nearly a year, he hid in ruined houses in El-Geneina, before finally making it to Chad’s Koufroun village. There, like many others, he faces dire conditions, scraping by in the local market and enduring intermittent meals amid fears of the impending rainy season.

The conflict, reignited on April 15, 2023, has exacted a devastating toll. Reports indicate that up to 15,000 lives were lost in El-Geneina alone during the initial nine months of hostilities, with the United Nations documenting atrocities like mass burials and executions.

Chad has borne the brunt of this humanitarian crisis, now home to nearly a million Sudanese refugees, a staggering number that continues to climb. Over half a million have sought refuge in Chad over the past year, joining those displaced by previous conflicts dating back to 2003.

The influx, predominantly women and children, has strained already limited resources, exacerbated by the threat of aid suspensions due to funding shortages.

In Adre, the main entry point for refugees, heart-wrenching accounts echo through the camps. Hada Ishag Fadallah, a mother of seven, recounts the horrors endured—her husband shot dead, their home ransacked—while struggling to secure food for her family. Others, like Asha Mohamat Mousa, are left in limbo, separated from loved ones and facing uncertain futures.

Meanwhile, conditions in the camps deteriorate. Shelters are ravaged by fire and wind, leaving families exposed to the elements. Security concerns loom large, with tensions rising between refugees and local Chadian communities over dwindling resources.

Amid this crisis, local officials appeal for urgent international intervention, warning of escalating unrest and the urgent need for additional support. As the world’s attention shifts, these stories of resilience and despair underscore the pressing need for sustained humanitarian action to avert a deeper catastrophe for those trapped in the crosshairs of conflict and displacement.

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