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Largest Internally Displaced Population in the World

UN Integrated Regional Information Network, 23 June 2001

By the end of 2000, Sudan accounted for more of the world’s refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) than any other African country, according to a new report by the US Committee for Refugees (USCR).

In its World Refugee Survey 2001, USCR said that by the end of 2000, 460,000 Sudanese were living as refugees in neighbouring countries, with a further four million seeking sanctuary within Sudan as IDPs—the largest internally displaced population in the world.

Sudan accounted for more than one third of all refugees and IDPs in Africa, the report said. Sudan stands at the heart of human misery in Africa. There is no place worse, said Jeff Dumatra, Africa policy analyst at USCR.

More than 100,000 Sudanese people were newly displaced during 2000, including 30,000 who fled to neighbouring countries. According to the report, the rise in refugee numbers was caused predominantly by conflict in five regions of the war-torn country: Bahr al-Ghazal, the Sudan-Eritrea border, Eastern Equatoria State, the Nubah Mountains, and Upper Nile State. Some of the worst deterioration in humanitarian conditions occurred near the oilfields in Upper Nile State, where an estimated 50,000 people had been displaced during the year.

Worsening violence among pro-government factions and between pro-Khartoum and rebel forces had created large new population upheavals in the state, where Sudanese government restrictions were preventing regular deliveries of relief supplies, USCR said. The report added that Sudan was also hosting 385,000 refugees from neighbouring countries, including 350,000 from Eritrea.