UN seeks aid for Sudan refugees fleeing to Libya and Uganda

The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) announced on Tuesday it is expanding its aid plan for Sudan refugees to include Libya and Uganda as the number of arrivals surges.

Sudan faces the world’s worst displacement crisis, with around 12 million people forced to flee due to civil war and over 2 million displaced across borders.

The expanded U.N. response now involves seven African countries hosting large numbers of Sudanese refugees.

Libya’s new arrivals raise concerns that refugees may attempt to reach Europe, a scenario UNHCR’s chief has warned about if sufficient aid is not provided.

A UNHCR document published Tuesday projects 149,000 refugees in Libya and 55,000 in Uganda by the end of the year, despite Uganda not sharing a direct border with Sudan.

“It just speaks to the desperate situation and desperate decisions that people are making, that they end up in a place like Libya which is, of course, extremely, extremely difficult for refugees right now,” said UNHCR’s Ewan Watson in Geneva.

At least 20,000 refugees have arrived in Libya since last year, with numbers accelerating recently, and many thousands more remain unregistered. In Uganda, at least 39,000 Sudanese refugees have arrived since the conflict began, Watson added.

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