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Jebel Marra open to aid after years of access denial

January 27 - 2017 KHARTOUM
Displaced people took shelter in the mountains in Kuala, western Jebel Marra, during the military operations against the armed movement early 2016 (RD)
Displaced people took shelter in the mountains in Kuala, western Jebel Marra, during the military operations against the armed movement early 2016 (RD)

An American NGO has received the green light from Khartoum to start health and nutrition activities in the formerly restricted Jebel Marra region in Darfur, in the area part of a recently signed peace agreement.

The International Medical Corps (IMC) requested the Sudanese Ministry of Health and the Humanitarian Aid Commission to approve the recruitment of two doctors and deployment of 27 health staff to support the hospital in Golo and health facilities in Boori and Jokosti. In addition, the shipping of medical and nutrition supplies to Golo, which lies in Rokoro locality in Central Darfur. 

Sudan now has approved the requests, and gave permission to IMC to start rehabilitating a nutrition centre, stabilisation ward, kitchen and food store in Golo hospital, as well as the health facilities in Boori and Jokosti.

The International Medical Corps already accessed health care facilities in these three areas last November. Golo is a town north of Korona, an area that is part of a peace agreement which defected prominent members of the rebel SLM-AW signed with the Central Darfur government in November 2016.

Jebel Marra has been the stronghold of the armed movement of rebel leader Abdel Wahid El Nur and was the scene of the heavy military offensive against the rebels in early 2016 and preceding years. An estimated 50,000 to 85,000 people in parts of Jebel Marra have reportedly been displaced as a result of the hostilities, the UN reported, but humanitarian organisations have been denied access to the affected people.

Many humanitarian aid organisations were expelled from Jebel Marra in 2010, and since, the area has witnessed little impact from aid activities and no consistent humanitarian projects.

Tearfund clinics

IMC will also pick up operations in two clinics of the international NGO Tearfund which were closed in December 2015, when the Sudanese government ended all operations of Tearfund in Sudan. The clinics are located in Katti and Kurifal west of Golo and have not been operational for years.

Sudan has permitted the NGO to start health and nutrition activities in Katti and Kurifal with at least 19 medical staff, seconded from the Sudanese Ministry of Health, who will be trained and deployed in the two clinics. IMC plans to have them up and running “this month” after the delivery of drugs and nutrition supplies, the UN's humanitarian office (OCHA) reported in its latest bulletin.

For the activities in Golo area, IMC receives funding from the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO); funding for the activities in Katti and Kurifal comes from the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SHF).

IMC has worked in Darfur for more than eight years and provided primary health care, maternal and child health, nutrition, water and sanitation, HIV/AIDS, and capacity-building programmes.


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