Historically, Sudan has been the site of great conflict and famine since the mid-twentieth century. As a result, a constant outflow of refugees streamed into neighboring countries and all around the world. Here are ten significant facts about these Sudan refugees.
10 Facts about Sudan Refugees
- According to the U.N. Refugee agency, there are currently 666,000 displaced Sudanese. Sudan has recorded high numbers of refugees since 1990.
- Major causes for the Sudanese exodus are prolonged civil war and famine. There have been three major Sudanese conflicts and ongoing hostilities since 1969, with the most recent South Sudanese Civil War beginning in 2013.
- A major spike in refugees from Sudan occurred following a famine in 1998. In the subsequent six years, Sudan’s refugee numbers doubled before decreasing rapidly during a period of relative stability.
- Refugees fleeing Sudan were about half as numerous in 2009, but large-scale ethnic conflicts displaced hundreds of thousands in the 2010s, particularly in the Darfur region.
- Neighboring South Sudan, which gained independence in 2011, houses many Sudanese refugees, despite the ongoing conflicts in the region. The opposite is also true, with many South Sudanese fleeing north to Sudan, an area that is regarded as slightly safer by the Global Peace index.
- Despite the split of Sudan and South Sudan, the Sudanese have continued to seek asylum in other countries since 2011. The number of Sudanese refugees steadily increased through 2014, before decreasing ever so slightly in 2015.
- One of the most interesting facts about Sudan refugees are the final places where the migrants eventually end up. The U.S. Census estimated there were about 41,000 Sudanese Americans in 2012, many of whom left Sudan in the 1980s and 90s during civil war. Australia also hosts many Sudan refugees, reporting almost 20,000 in their national census.
- The ongoing hostilities and large numbers of refugees have decreased Sudan’s annual population growth rate to less than 1 million per year, lower than Iraq, Vietnam and Afghanistan.
- While current numbers of refugees from Sudan and South Sudan are undoubtedly high, (both above 600,000) there have been significantly more Sudanese displaced in the past. For example, during the second Sudanese Civil War, approximately 4 million people were forced to leave Sudan.
- Despite the extremely complex and difficult nature of the Sudanese exodus, the UNHCR was able to assist 39,470 Sudanese refugees, with 2/3 of them living in adequate dwellings through almost $75 million in aid.
These facts about Sudan refugees are not all-encompassing, but they do offer great insight into the critical Sudanese refugee situation. Fortunately, there’s hope that current peace talks in South Sudan may help stabilize the region, despite the failure of previous regimes to put an end to Sudanese violence.
In the meantime, the UNHCR and refugee-hosting first world countries continue to be an ally for the huge numbers of displaced Sudanese.
– John English