Close this search box.

The Sudanese Under Fire: Armed Conflict, Closed Borders, & Deadly Heat

This post is also available in: English

The Sudanese Under Fire: Armed Conflict, Closed Borders, & Deadly Heat

Latest Update: 51 burial permits have been issued.
The number is expected to rise.
51 Sudanese fatalities have been recorded, with dozens injured and at risk of deportation.
Additionally, some people have been recorded missing during their crossing into Egypt.
Our condolences and serious demands.
Last Friday, temperatures in the southern Egyptian governorate of Aswan reached 49.8°C in the shade, recording the highest temperature in the world that day. The heat wave claimed the lives of 51 people over the span of four days; a rare occurrence last recorded nearly two decades ago in 2002 when the cities of Daraw and Kharga, neighboring Aswan, recorded similar temperatures.
This heat wave has brought about a new disaster for irregular Sudanese migrants crossing the desert into Egypt in search of a safe haven. According to the Refugees Platform in Egypt (RPE), 51 people, including children, women, and entire families, have died between June 7th and 9th.
At the same time, dozens of families have reported their loved ones missing during their journey to Egypt, while dozens of injured individuals were admitted to various hospitals in Aswan Governorate.
Eyewitnesses in Aswan report that locals found migrant vehicles with Sudanese migrants collapsed around them when venturing into the areas surrounding Aswan. While there have been reports of deaths due to dehydration and burns sustained from prolonged exposure to the intense heat of the sun, other reported deaths and injuries are related to accidents involving the vehicles transporting them. Eyewitnesses confirm that the cases admitted into hospitals so far were discovered by chance on the roads around Aswan and on desert roads.
Survivors who spoke with the RPE report that the number of people missing in the desert exceeds those who have been hospitalized so far. According to a well-informed source in Aswan, the Egyptian authorities are holding the injured survivors under guard in hospitals as they recover to be forcibly deported after.

A family member of one of the deceased and injured survivors reported that the authorities informed their families in the hospitals that they are under police guard until they are forcibly deported to Sudan.

So far, the Egyptian authorities have not announced the number of deaths that have reached Aswan hospitals nor issued any official statements regarding any search and rescue operations despite numerous families reporting their loved ones missing.

Likewise, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has not issued any statements or comments on what happened in Aswan and the border area, nor did it visit the survivors to register those wishing to apply for asylum.

According to what the RPE has documented, the Public Prosecution has filed several administrative reports in Aswan in recent days regarding the bodies that have arrived at hospitals. However, no investigations have been conducted into the status of the deaths and injuries from the accidents.

The Platform had documented in an investigation into similar cases over the past year, noting that the Prosecution ultimately decides to hold the bodies and refer the survivors to the administrative authority — usually the National Security Agency and the Immigration Administration of the Ministry of Interior— which raises concerns about the potential deportation of the survivors.

The power struggle in Sudan has resulted in one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world, with the number of displaced persons nearing 10 million, in addition to thousands of deaths and significant material losses. On top of that, displaced individuals have encountered deadly borders that align with an oppressive political system, leading them to choose the path of irregular migration despite the high risks, which could lead to death. Many survivors of the horrors armed conflict face inhumane arrest operations at the borders and are thrown into secret prisons, most of which are run by the Egyptian army, with no authority from civil judiciary bodies.

According to Guideline 4 on human rights at international borders, border authorities tasked with rescue operations should “identify persons at imminent risk of death and migrants who may be at particular risk at international borders immediately afford them appropriate assistance.”

According to the UNHCR Executive Committee protection safeguards in interception measures,“the State within whose sovereign territory, or territorial waters, interception takes place, has the primary responsibility for addressing any protection needs of intercepted persons.”

The Egyptian authorities’ behavior at the borders cannot be separated from the generous European funding of the Egyptian regime in the context of combating irregular migration. In 2023, the EU granted Egypt €5M to accommodate displaced Sudanese refugees, and in another installment, allocated €20M to cover the needs of new Sudanese arrivals for food, water, sanitation, and hygiene supplies. Additionally, there is the so-called $8B “partnership between the European Union and Egypt,” where “reducing migration” is one of the key factors.

The RPE has observed an escalation in arrests targeting Sudanese nationals following the signing of the partnership agreement, including deportations that have involved registered refugees, which are still ongoing.

At the RPE, we are committed to continuous monitoring and documentation. Therefore, if you have lost a loved one in recent days, you can contact us to report your missing relatives. Our team will then verify if their name is among the reported deaths or injuries registered in our database.

The RPE also extends its deepest condolences to the families of the victims and continues to stand in solidarity with the injured and detainees.

To prevent such events from happening again, the Refugees Platform in Egypt calls on:

The Egyptian Authorities to:

Provide search and rescue teams from the Border Guard Forces and allow local and international organizations willing to engage in these operations to participate.

Commit to implementing international conventions signed and ratified by Egypt, which obligate it to receive and enable refugees to apply for asylum, and prohibit their expulsion and forcible return to a country where they are at risk.

Allow the UNHCR and family members of the injured individuals access to those injured and detained, and enable them to register with the UNHCR as asylum seekers.

Direct the Public Prosecution to investigate the deaths in the desert areas, including ascertaining the facts and publicizing them.

Hold those who fail to carry out search and rescue operations accountable and investigate the possibility of rescue and the failure to conduct it.

Establish special measures for pregnant Sudanese women to ensure their physical safety, privacy, access to suitable rest areas and emergency medical care, especially with the high temperatures in Aswan, and develop an immediate mechanism to ensure their full and complete access to medical services and recovery periods, including facilitating entry and registration due to their fragile conditions.

Introduce legislative amendments to Egyptian law that obligate the state and its institutions to carry out continuous search and rescue operations at land and sea borders, in accordance with Egypt’s international obligations, and include clear provisions imposing legal accountability on the responsible authorities in case of inaction.

The International Community to:

Provide the material, human, and training resources for search and rescue teams at land borders.

Link international aid to the extent of compliance with human rights norms and the texts of conventions signed by Egypt.

Stop ignoring the Sudanese crisis and tackle it in a manner commensurate with the magnitude of the disaster that has forced Sudanese people to migrate and flee.

Provide international headquarters for organizations at the borders to register displaced persons and monitor the extent to which border guards abide by international conventions in dealing with displaced persons.

Most Read

latest releases



Subscribe to our newsletter

Dear users of the Refugee platform in Egypt, we are pleased to keep you informed of all important updates related to daily news, services, procedures, issues and reports. So that you can interact with them through your platforms on social media. If you wish to subscribe to our newsletter and see all that is new, register now.