Egypt hosting 9 million migrants and refugees as more Sudanese flee

Egypt hosting 9 million migrants and refugees as more Sudanese flee
Egypt, a country at the crossroads of Africa, Europe and the Middle East now hosts 9 million migrants and refugees, which has now increased following the outbreak of conflict in Sudan, prompting many to flee.
2 min read
27 May, 2023
Many Sudanese have fled across the border to Egypt, as they escape war and conflict in the East African country [Getty]

The number of migrants and refugees in Egypt has increased to nine million amid the arrival of thousands from Sudan who are fleeing war and conflict, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said, as cited by local media.

The announcement came after top diplomat Sameh Shoukry met with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva on Thursday, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year.

Abu Zeid said Shoukry discussed ways to develop cooperation and partnership between Cairo and the UNHCR in a bid to alleviate the burden likely to be experienced by the Egyptian government, in light of the news that nine million refugees and migrants are now in the country, according to the Egypt Independent news site.

They also discussed the UNHCR’s capacity to mobilise resources and provide humanitarian and medical relief at the borders for those fleeing Sudan.

According to reports, 121,000 Sudanese refugees have crossed into Egypt following the outbreak of the conflict on 15 April between forces loyal to Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the Sudanese army, and Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who leads the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

The conflict, which erupted as a consequence of a power struggle between al-Burhan and Daglo, has killed at least 865 people and displaced thousands more. Many have fled to neighbouring countries such as Ethiopia, Chad as well as Egypt.

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The foreign minister said he reviewed Egypt’s policy towards migrants and refugees in the country, which is based on adherence to non-discrimination between Egyptian and non-Egyptian citizens.

Shoukry said that refugee and migrant groups are provided with basic services, including healthcare and education.

However, the Egyptian government was on the receiving of criticism for upholding strict entry requirements for those escaping Sudan. Fleeing citizens required a visa to enter the country, while those exempt were women and girls of any age, boys below 18 and men above 60. Such policy left scores more at risk.

Abu Zeid said that Shoukry also met with the director general of the International Organisation for Migrations (IOM) on Thursday, stressing that Cairo was keen on increasing cooperation, with the aim of securing assistance from the international community as Egypt hosts more migrant and refugee communities.

Migrant communities in Egypt hail mostly from the neighbouring countries of Sudan and Libya, while many more have roots in Syria and Yemen. The largest immigrant group are Sudanese, who number at four million, respectively.