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UN-Khartoum team probes needs of displaced in Sortony, Darfur

May 9 - 2017 SORTONY
Unamid vehicle patrols Sortony, North Darfur, on 25 April 2016 (Mohamad Almahady/Unamid)
Unamid vehicle patrols Sortony, North Darfur, on 25 April 2016 (Mohamad Almahady/Unamid)

A United Nations field visit to Sortony site in Kabkabiya concluded that more water, health, and security services are required for the people who have been displaced from the Jebel Marra area during the armed conflict in the beginning of 2016.

The joint mission of the UN and the Government of Sudan on Monday was led by UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Marta Ruedas, and the Commissioner-General of Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commission, Ahmed Mohamed Adam.

Mission members met leaders of the displaced community, people who fled from the Jebel Marra Massif in the first half of 2016 when it was the scene of aerial bombardments and large-scale fighting between armed movements and Sudanese government and militia forces. In total, an estimated 138,000 people from Jebel Marra were displaced as of 31 March 2016.

According to the UN, their number has reduced to 21,500 people who are registered and currently reside at the site adjacent to the base of the UN-African Union peacekeeping mission (Unamid). They are mostly in need of nutrition, health, water, education, and protection, the second joint field visit this year found.

Water tankers

Last month, a number of displaced people in Sortony told Radio Dabanga that the severe drinking water shortage was caused by the reduction of the number of water tankers carrying water to the camp: from 17 vehicles per day to two vehicles. “We cannot afford to buy water for SDG5 ($0.70) per jerry-can, sold by the owners of the donkey carts.

“And when we leave the camp to get water from a well, we more often than not are assaulted by militiamen,” a camp resident said.

Tens of thousands of litres are trucked in to Sortony and other camps in the state: organisations such as Oxfam and Unicef trucked in 198,000 litres of water during one week last November. Militiamen, however, sporadically blocked or imposed fees on tankers to Sortony in October and September.

Coordinator Ruedas said upon completion of Monday's visit that “it comes within the overall context of the constructive collaboration between Sudan’s HAC and the national and international humanitarian aid community in the country, and offered an opportunity to examine the quality of assistance being provided to the 21,500 people living in Sortony area.”

Unamid Deputy Joint Special Representative, the Head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Sudan as well as the North Darfur Health Minister representing the Governor of North Darfur and other federal government officials from Khartoum joined the delegation on Monday.

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