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Water shortage, raids cause mass exodus in North Darfur

February 27 - 2015 UM BARU / KARNOI
Collecting water in Abu Shouk camp, North Darfur (Albert Gonzalez Farran/Unamid)
Collecting water in Abu Shouk camp, North Darfur (Albert Gonzalez Farran/Unamid)

Thousands of people and their cattle reached Shegeg Karo in Um Baru locality on Wednesday, in search of food and water after fleeing from militiamen which destroyed many of their water sources.

The valley in North Darfur now is home to about 17,000 people who have fled with their cattle from Bireidik, Donki Hosh, Donki Jama Al Agadr, Jirgira, Hashaba, Ba'ashim, and Donki Jibril. These villages are located in Karnoi and Um Baru localities.

Speaking to Dabanga Sudan, Mohamed Ahmed Minawi Digeish, an independent MP for Um Baru and Karnoi, said he recently visited the area with newly displaced people. “The people escaped from the thirst and lack of food prevailing in the areas, after pro-government militias destroyed their water sources, and occupied the remaining ones.”

Digeish appealed to humanitarian organisations and the Sudanese authorities to speed up the provision of food and water to those affected in Shegeg Karo.

The areas with important water sources seem to be targeted most by the air force.

The MP explained that it took him a week to visit the displaced and victims in the localities. He found that many areas face a shortage of drinking water. “The livestock are close to dying, unless the authorities proceed to dig water wells, and repair the broken wells and reservoirs.”

He said that the areas most affected are Orschi, Abu Gamra, Abu Leha, Um Hosh, Abar Maza, Moz Bad, and Bredik. These are areas with important water sources for widespread communities, and according to Digeish, targeted the most by the aerial bombardments of the Sudanese Air Force.

Humanitarian aid “not enough”

Digeish reported that the number of displaced people in Karnoi stands at 19,342, according to omdas and local leaders of the displaced communities. The humanitarian organisations working in the area registered 7,362 of them, and are providing aid to these people.

In the interview, Digeish expressed his appreciation for the hard work that the organisations are delivering in the fields of food, water, health and education. However, the fact remains that the displaced people still face “extremely difficult humanitarian and health conditions”. “It is not enough.

“The people, firstly, need security. Secondly, they need tents for shelter. There is also a need for more obstetric material and medicines, for the many pregnant women among the displaced,” says Digeish.


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