Displaced in rebel-controlled areas suffer as Darfur is hit by heavy rainfall

Kalma camp near Nyala, capital of South Darfur last week (Photo: social media)

Last week, heavy rains wreaked havoc in various parts of Darfur. In particular Kalma camp for the displaced near Nyala, capital of South Darfur, was severely hit. The thousands of people who fled the fighting between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces to areas under control of the Sudan Liberation Movement faction headed by Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW) are living rough. More than five million people in Sudan have fled their homes since the war broke out in mid-April.

Torrential rains have led to the flooding of large parts of the Kalma camp for the displaced, which caused many residents to flee towards the Jebel Marra massif* in central Darfur. The area is the stronghold of the mainstream SLM faction, where already thousands of people who fled the battles between the army and the RSF in Nyala, Nierteti, Zalingei, and other places in the region, are living rough.

SLM-AW spokesperson Mohamed El Nayer called for urgent humanitarian aid for the displaced.

In a statement on Sunday, he explained that “thousands of people sought refuge in Kalokiting, Kutrum, Feina, Dibbet Naira, Saboun El Fagur, Fanga, Katur, Sortony, Tawila, and other places entirely or partially controlled by SLM-AW”.

Residents of the Sortony camp in northern Jebel Marra, particularly women, children, and the elderly, are suffering from shortages of clean drinking water, food, and other basic supplies.

As for Kalma camp, El Nayer said that torrential rains exacerbated the ‘already dire situation’ in the area.

The Darfur Bar Association (DBA) yesterday confirmed that thousands of families from Nyala and Zalingei have arrived in areas controlled by SLM-AW, “including Sortony camp in North Darfur, and camps for the displaced in Saboun El Fagur and Turungtonga in Jebel Marra”.

In an “urgent appeal”, the DBA called on humanitarian organisations to aid the displaced families in Darfur, after the heavy rainfall last week caused severe damage to shelters and infrastructure.

Hundreds of families from Nyala have sought refuge in Shangil Tobaya, El Fasher, and other areas in North Darfur, where people are enduring challenging humanitarian conditions.

Radio Dabanga sources reported from El Fasher, that more than 500 displaced families from Nyala that found shelter in the Southern School for Boys in El Fasher are suffering from severe shortages of water and food.

Since July, heavy rains and flooding affected 72,000 people in the country, as reported by the 2023 Sudan Floods Dashboard.

‘A million a month’

Clementine Nkweta-Salami, the UN secretary-general’s deputy special representative for Sudan within the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), said in a message on X (formerly known as Twitter) yesterday that a staggering 5.25 million people have been forced to flee their homes in Sudan “in just five months”, with an average of one million people newly displaced every month.

* The Jebel Marra massif lies at the centre of Darfur. The fertile area, inhabited mainly by members of the Fur tribe, has since 2003 been the primary stronghold of the SLM-AW. It is the only place in the region, where armed opposition maintains prolonged control over territory.