110 dead and potential polio surge in South Darfur Kalma camp

Kalma camp for the displaced near Nyala in South Darfur (File photo: Albert González Farran / UNAMID

In South Darfur’s Kalma camp, reports on Tuesday revealed that 110 individuals have recently died. Sources indicate a concerning rise in potential polio cases alongside acute hunger. Urgent food deliveries are necessary to prevent further fatalities within the camp.

Sheikh Ishag Abdallah, Kalma camp leader and head of the Darfur Displaced and Refugees General Coordination, reported the deaths of 66 children in the camp, due to malnutrition and lack of medicines.

He told Radio Dabanga that 38 people and six pregnant women had also died within a month. He highlighted the severe shortage of food, aid, and job opportunities, warning that the situation could worsen without prompt food deliveries.

The sheikh warned of potential polio and other childhood diseases due to halted vaccination programmes, although some immunisation efforts had recently resumed. 

Mohamed Adam, head of Centre 6 in Kalma camp, said that hunger had reached its peak, with commodity prices rising sharply. In April, an inventory identified 142,000 families in the camp needing aid. 

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan reported that 25 million people in the country require food aid, with eight million displaced since the conflict began in April 2023. 

Kalma camp has housed tens of thousands of long-term displaced for 20 years, with new arrivals due to ongoing conflict.