Specialist investigation team sent as two children die in mysterious North Darfur fires

Frequent fires of unknown cause continue to be witnessed in the village of Meleisa in Saraf Omra locality, North Darfur (social media)

EL LAEIT / SARAF OMRA – February 14, 2023

Two fires broke out in the eastern part of North Darfur on Sunday, killing two children. Recently, a number of fires broke out in the west of North Darfur as well. The North Darfur governor decided to send a specialised team to investigate the currently unknown causes behind the frequent fires.

Two children named Munir and Ashraf Hamed, aged five and nine, died in a fire that broke out in a house in El Mashrot village in El Laeit on Sunday.

Earlier that day, a huge fire broke out in Hamari Endarab, part of the Haskanita Administrative Unit that El Mashrot also belongs to. At least 22 houses burned to the ground, without causing any loss of life.

Food crops of all kinds, a large number of livestock, two cars, and other property were lost in the flames.

Recently, a number of fires broke out in Saraf Omra too, in the west of North Darfur. Last year, three children died in a massive fire in the Taweisha locality.

Investigation team

Yesterday, North Darfur Wali (governor) Nimir Abdelrahman decided to send a technical team of geologists to Meleisa village to investigate the causes of the frequent fires there, in response to a complaint submitted by the villagers last week.

The source of the fires has been unknown.

The governor met with the heads of water departments, the Mining Coordination Council, and the General Authority for Geological Research yesterday in his office in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur.

After the meeting, Director General of the North Darfur Water Sector Abdelshafi Abdallah Adam said in a press statement that they recommended urgently sending a technical investigation team to Saraf Omra locality to investigate the fires.

Adam said that he expects 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.

The technical team is expected to return with soil samples. “The laboratory results will most probably provide a decisive answer.”