Dire health problems among displaced in Jebel Marra
Tens of thousands of civilians who have been displaced by the air raids, as part of the government's military offensive against the armed rebels in Jebel Marra, have been hiding in mountain caves. Witnesses reported that many suffer from health problems and a lack of food.
Katrong and Kaila in west Jebel Marra were hit with 15 bombs on Wednesday. Because of the remoteness of the area there is no confirmation about the number of casualties. A witness from Golo said that he saw smoke rising from the two places, “probably the result of long-range artillery bombardments”.
A source in west Jebel Marra told Radio Dabanga that approximately 30,000 civilians have taken refuge at mountain caves southeast of Golo. The largest group has been hiding in Darasa, he said.
“Approximately six women gave birth in those caves in the period between 20 January and 16 February,” he reported. “The living situation in the caves is extremely dangerous and the displaced people are subjected to continuous aerial bombardments.”
An activist from west Jebel Marra said that malnutrition has spread among the children of those fleeing the attacks. People suffer from diarrhoea, chest infections, itching, and the cold. The inhaling of smoke and nearby exploding remnants of bombs cause health problems too, he said.
Lack of supply
“People drink unclean water. There is a lack of health centres in the Jebel Marra region, and schools have been closed since the beginning of the aerial bombardments on 15 January.”
Roads in the area are closed by militiamen, causing a shortage of necessary supplies and resulting in price increases for basic goods such as sugar, flour, and oil.
The activist appealed to the United Nations and the Security Council to take immediate action. According to the UN in an update on Wednesday, the number of civilians displaced as a result of the recent conflict in Darfur’s Jebel Marra area has increased from 38,000 to 73,000. Humanitarian actors have so far been unable to verify the number of displaced in inner Jebel Marra, and the people who have fled to towns in Central Darfur.
Sudanese newspapers reported on the continuation of clashes in Darfur between the government and rebel forces of the SLM-AW, headed by Abdel Wahid El Nur. Hurriyat (Arabic) newspaper said that the Sudanese Air Force continues to bomb the western part of Jebel Marra, dropping five barrel bombs were dropped on the area of Golo and Krey El Khalwa on Tuesday. Three bombs fell near Bodong, where the number of casualties is unknown.
El Ayam (Arabic) newspaper stated that the rebel SLM-AW claimed to have killed 49 government troops and wounded 19 others in the area of Kutrum in the western part of Jebel Marra on Monday. Sudan Vision (English), however, said that the Sudanese army claimed to have regained control of the area from the SLM-AW.
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