Impact of Sudan crisis in the Central African Republic (Flash Update 8 May 2023)

ReliefWeb Situation Report 



Impact of Sudan crisis in the Central African Republic


  • The humanitarian community is preparing a flash appeal to adapt the response

  • 9,700 people, including Central African returnees have preventively fled from Sudan to Am-Dafock in CAR.

  • Humanitarians are speeding up the stock prepositioning plan ahead of the rainy season, while providing emergency assistance.


Following the extent of humanitarian needs and the specific dynamics of the region hosting Sudanese asylum seekers and Central African returnees as established by the assessment mission led by the Humanitarian Coordinator on 4 May, the humanitarian community is preparing a flash appeal to adapt the response. This appeal will cover urgent needs for 50,000 vulnerable people, namely refugees, returnees, internally displaced persons, and the host population, and will complement the Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRP) of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The above-mentioned situation in Am-Dafock was also the subject of a press briefing that the Humanitarian Coordinator hold upon returning from the mission to Bangui, and of a debriefing with the Humanitarian Country Team on 5 and 6 May respectively.

As a result of insecurity along the border area, traffic between Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR) has been severely disrupted, causing a sharp increase in the price of basic commodities. Sudan supplies several towns in CAR, particularly Birao in the Vakaga Prefecture and Ndélé in the Bamingui-Bangoran Prefecture. During the rainy season from April to October, access is very challenged and supplies largely depend on Sudan. For some items, prices have doubled. A 50-kg bag of sugar, which sold for XAF 40,000 before the conflict is now worth XAF 80,000 in Birao. A small bowl of millet that used to cost XAF 500 is now worth XAF 1,000.

The northern region of CAR was already experiencing acute food insecurity, a situation that is projected to reach one of its most severe stages by August if an adequate response is not forthcoming. According to the 2023 Humanitarian Needs Overview released in November 2022, about 120,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection in northern CAR.

Approximately 9,700 people, including 3,460 Central African returnees have preventively crossed the border from Sudan and are living in host families and spontaneous settlements in Am-Dafock, CAR. Women and children constitute 98 per cent of asylum seekers and 87 per cent of returnees. Their number is expected to increase as registration is underway, including consolidation of lists between Government partners and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Some people continue pendular movements between their homes in Sudan and Am-Dafock in CAR. The Humanitarian Coordinator, the Minister of Interior and Public Security, and United Nations Agencies' senior officials travelled to Am-Dafock on 4 May to better undestand the dynamics of the situation in the border region and related humanitarian needs, including protection, ongoing response and gaps.

Am-Dafock is in a flood-prone area and with the rainy season coming this month, access will be extremely limited. The humanitarian community is working hard to ensure that those in need receive required assistance in a timely manner, including in adapting logistical arrangements.


On 4 May, 4,6 tons of emergency air cargo left the capital Bangui to Birao to scale up the humanitarian response. The cargo, which complements a pre-existent stock prepositioned in Birao, was transported by the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) and included medicines, water supplies, emergency shelters and essential non-food items from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The emergency air cargo is part of a stock prepositioning plan that humanitarian actors implement each year in the northern CAR where access is extremely limited during the rainy season that begins later in May. This year, the process has been speeded up in response to the humanitarian needs arose from the ongoing conflict in Sudan, and is continuing through the road with other supplies, including food.

International Medical Corps (IMC) continues to provide emergency medical, nutritional and mental health response to the most vulnerable. To contain the increase in medical consultations, an international organization reinforced the stock of medicines at the local health center. The organization also installed two drinking water tanks with 30,000 liters capacity and repaired a water drilling system. Currently, the most pressing needs include emergency shelter, essential household items, food, latrines and relocation away from the border, to mitigate some protection challenges.The humanitarian community and the Government are currently discussing its modalities.

According to the UNHCR’s Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRP), US$ 34.5 million are required to respond to preliminary needs of 25,000 people coming from Sudan, including 15,000 returnees, for six months. The RRP will cover in its first phase the most urgent needs at entry points including protection, namely pre-registration, protection and border monitoring, advocacy and training to preserve the humanitarian and civilian character of asylum, identification of and assistance to people with specific needs, including unaccompanied children, older persons and pregnant women; hot meals and food distribution; emergency and community shelters; mobile clinics, medical consultations, psychosocial support, nutrition screening, treatment and prevention of malnutrition; emergency education services, including child-friendly spaces, school supply support, advocacy for school registration and exams; provision of drinking water, latrines, hygiene and sanitation; and distribution of core relief items. In its second phase, the RRP will consist of relocating asylum-seekers away from the border to mitigate protection risks, and implementing protection and assistance activities.

On a flexible basis, Canada announced a US$ 10 million grant to allow partners in CAR to adapt and scale-up the humanitarian response as the situation evolves. The funding will help people meet their basic needs, including by providing food assistance, protection, water, sanitation and hygiene services and health services.


Humanitarian needs were already severe in CAR with 3.4 million people - 56 per cent of the population - in need of assistance and protection. The 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan, which aims to assist 2.4 million of the most vulnerable Central Africans, is only 22% funded. The capacity to absorb additional needs is very limited.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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