Food is expensive for Darfur displaced during Ramadan

Displaced people in Zalingei and camps in Tawila localities suffer from food shortages for food during Ramadan. Similar reports from South Sudan’s Yida camp, where the rainfall causes more problems for the refugees.

Displaced people in Central Darfur and camps in Tawila, North Darfur, suffer from food shortages and rising prices for food and goods during Ramadan. 

An activist in the Tawila camps told Radio Dabanga that the prices of food and local goods have risen in the market of Tawila since the entry of the holy month of Ramadan. The activist said that the displaced people do not have sources of income to buy food from the market. Aid organisations distributed food to the displaced before the start of Ramadan, he explained.

The prices of goods in Zalingei locality in Central Darfur have risen as well, as a pound of sugar has risen to SDG5.50 ($0.90), along with the increased prices for local items.

The coordinator of the camps in Central Darfur, El Shafie Abdallah, informed Radio Dabanga about the soaring prices. “The living conditions of the displaced people in the camps is very difficult during the month of Ramadan.

“The displaced now suffer from a severe food shortage, especially after the World Food Programme reviewed the food rations. This has kept a lot of displaced outside the umbrella of food support.”

The fasting during Ramadan makes it difficult for poor and displaced people to obtain food in the normal ways, which is buying it from the little money they receive from their jobs. Another way is to beg for food in daytime. During Ramadan, people are fasting during the day and usually have no leftover food to give away.

Another complicating factor is the fact that villagers in Darfur would normally gather for iftar -to break the fast- collectively. But in the camps, families do not receive enough food in general from distributing organisations, to share it with others.

Expensive food in Yida camp

Similar reports from Yida camp in South Sudan's Unity state, where refugees from the Nuba Mountains have taken shelter from the fighting between government forces and the rebel SPLM-N. Soaring food prices have worsened their situation, a community leader in Yida told this station.

Meanwhile, merchants in Yida have attributed the high rise in prices to the rise of the US Dollar against the South Sudanese pound. The import of goods in Juba and surroundings have been interrupted, they said.

In addition, refugees from South Kordofan's Nuba Mountains said that there are large numbers of refugees who have not received plastic sheets, blankets or mosquito nets since the rainy season has set in.

According to several refugees, there are signs of bronchitis and diarrhoea among the population because of the rain and the cold. They predicted the exacerbation of health conditions as the rainfull is expected to increase during July – also impeding the transport of food on the muddy roads.

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) has announced preparations to close-down Yida and relocate refugees to other camps. Camp residents said that food rations have been reduced for the more than 700,000 refugees.