Relief workers struggle after Darfur unrest
14 February 2013, 13:52
Khartoum - The largest displacement in years in Sudan's
troubled Darfur region has left homes destroyed, crops burned and relief
workers struggling to meet needs, the global aid agency Oxfam said on Thursday.
Tens of thousands of people who fled fighting last month in
the Jebel Amir district of North Darfur state face a severe shortage of clean
water and sanitation services, Oxfam said in a statement.
About 100 000 people were displaced across a wide area of
Jebel Amir after inter-Arab tribal fighting in a gold-mining area.
"Those who have been able to flee are not sure when
they will be able to return to their home areas, many of which have been
destroyed in the fighting," Oxfam's Hamouda Kanu said in the statement.
"They have inadequate shelter for this colder time of
year and are forced to defecate in the open. This could lead to the spread of
disease," said the North Darfur humanitarian coordinator.
El Fateh Osman, the agency's Sudan country director, said
there were fears of more displacement but "we are already struggling to
meet the needs of those who have already been forced to flee their homes".
Oxfam also warned of possible food shortages.
65 000 newly homeless
"Farmers were preparing for a good harvest this year
but many crops in the area were burned in the conflict," it said.
The United Nations, citing figures from the government's
Humanitarian Aid Commission, has said the largest group of 65 000 newly
homeless are in El Sireaf town, in the far-west of North Darfur.
Aid workers are forced to fly relief materials to El Sireaf,
limiting how much they can send, because one of the combatant groups from
January's unrest controls the main road into the area, Oxfam said.
"Negotiations need to urgently take place so that this
road is quickly opened up for humanitarians," it said.
The UN and its partners have already delivered more than 600
tons of food and other aid to the affected area.
A decade-long rebellion in Sudan's under-developed far-west
Darfur region has been compounded by inter-Arab violence, banditry and tribal