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UN: ‘73,000 civilians now displaced by recent Darfur conflict’

February 17 - 2016 KHARTOUM
People who fled their villages in northern Jebel Marra arrive at Rwanda camp in Tawila locality, North Darfur (22 January 2016, RD correspondent)
People who fled their villages in northern Jebel Marra arrive at Rwanda camp in Tawila locality, North Darfur (22 January 2016, RD correspondent)

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, according to the latest estimates by the UN.

According to a statement today by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan, civilians have been fleeing Jebel Marra since hostilities between the government and a faction of the Sudan Liberation Army escalated in mid-January, and have been arriving at three main locations in North Darfur.

The recent increase is largely due to a massive influx of some 30,000 civilians to Sortony, where civilians have been gathering next to a base operated by the United Nations-African Union peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (Unamid). About 18,000 individuals in total have also arrived in Tawila since mid-January, at an established camp for the displaced.

According to the Unamid today, 57,648 people have sought refuge at the team site in Sortony in Kabkabiya locality as of 15 February. The reported number has increased by 146 per cent over the past week. The reasons behind the increase in the numbers are yet to be verified, the mission stated. Additionally, there are approximately 18,000 displaced people gathered at the team site in Tawila town.

Humanitarian relief

“The situation remains very fluid, and the UN and partners have teams on the ground working to assess the needs of those who have recently arrived in Sortony and Tawila,” said the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Marta Ruedas. “Identifying the needs of vulnerable people is a painstaking exercise, but one that is necessary in order to provide timely and targeted humanitarian relief.”

Food and other emergency relief including water, shelter, medical supplies and nutrition supplements were provided to the newly displaced earlier this week. The UN and partners are working to provide additional humanitarian assistance.

Thousands are also reported to have fled into Central Darfur but the UN has not yet been able to verify reported displacement or ascertain and respond to humanitarian needs, despite several requests to the authorities to access the relevant areas.

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