The United Nations today expressed grave concern over the impact of the ongoing hostilities in Darfur on thousands of civilians who have been forced to flee their homes amid the conflict that began two weeks ago.
In a press statement today, Marta Ruedas, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, refers to initial reports that indicate that about 19,000 people have fled into North Darfur, and up to 15,000 into Central Darfur, following fighting in Jebel Marra that straddles three Darfur states.
Some humanitarian assistance, including nutritional supplements for children, medicine and purified water, have been provided to some of the newly displaced – the vast majority women and children – in North Darfur, the UN coordinator states.
The humanitarian community is working to provide emergency relief to those displaced in Central Darfur. The lack of access is preventing the immediate provision of aid.
“The protection of civilians remains our paramount concern during conflict,” Ruedas states.
“While it is encouraging that some humanitarian assistance is being provided, clearly much more is needed and we are working with our national and international partners on the ground to ascertain how the vulnerable can be helped during this time.
“We are therefore advocating safe and unfettered access to provide timely assistance to those in need.”
The exact number of civilians who have fled the Jebel Marra is yet to be confirmed. There are also unverified reports of other people having sought refuge deeper in the Jebel Marra massif.
In the context of providing humanitarian emergency assistance, the international humanitarian community is guided by the UN General Assembly resolution 46/182 (December 1991), which outlines a framework for humanitarian assistance and a set of guiding principles.