Second research team sent to investigate mysterious North Darfur fires

The aftermath of the recent fire in Eyal Amin, North Darfur (Radio Dabanga)

EL TAWEISHA – April 4, 2023

A team from the Geological Research Authority visited Eyal Amin village in El Taweisha, North Darfur, on Friday to investigate the causes of fires that frequently break out in the area. The team took soil samples.

At least 241 homes have been destroyed in fires in Eyal Amin in 2023 only, the most recent of which happened on Saturday evening. So far, the causes of the frequent fires have remained a mystery.

The director of El Taweisha locality, Suleiman Ali, told Radio Dabanga that the team of geological experts collected soil samples and returned to Khartoum. “They promised to inform us of the results as soon as they appear.”

Several relief organisations reached out to the authorities of El Taweisha to aid the affected, Ali said. “We are working on this.”

The number of fires and the fact that their cause remains unknown means that residents live in a constant state of fear.

Resident Mutassim Abdelwahab told a reporting team from Radio Dabanga that fires occur almost daily and are constantly expected, which led to people staying in their homes in a state of alert to extinguish any fire.

He also called on the state government to provide firefighting vehicles because local residents are struggling to put out the fires due to the lack of water.

Local people have demanded that the region be declared a disaster area.

Last month, fires consumed 75 houses in Eyal Amin. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga at the time that “fires frequently break out from the ground these days” and said that the people in the area are “in a state of panic, because of the repeated fires”. Last year, three children died in a fire in Eyal Amin.

Geological causes

Eyal Amin is not the only place witnessing frequent mysterious fires. In February, North Darfur Wali (governor) Nimir Abdelrahman already decided to send a technical team of geologists to Meleisa village to take soil samples and investigate the causes of the frequent fires there.

Director General of the North Darfur Water Corporation Abdelshafi Abdallah said that he suspects that these fires, which date back to 2014, may have geological causes, such as the rocks and soil quality, thermal emission of phosphorous and methane gases, or old environmental waste and pollution.