29 November 2012

Sudan: Winter Approaching - Displaced Across Darfur Face Critical Conditions

Darfur — Camp representatives and activists from across Darfur have asked the authorities and humanitarian organizations to provide blankets, mattresses and covers for the camps, as the winter season is approaching, Radio Dabanga was informed on Tuesday November 27.

North Darfur

Tahir Ismail, head of Kassab and Fatta Borno camps' sheikhs, informed Radio Dabanga that the organizations did not 'fulfill their obligations' to the displaced residents of the two camps.

He explained that the displaced fled their homes due to the attacks by, what he called, pro-government militiamen last August. The sheikh added that these militants burnt the properties and homes of the displaced in North Darfur.

The sheikh told Radio Dabanga in an interview that the displaced are suffering from a lack of blankets, mattresses and covers, adding that GOAL was the only organization which provided assistance to approximately 400 displaced families in Kassab and Fatta Borno camps.

Ismail claimed that the amount does not cover the needs of the displaced persons.

He appealed to international organizations to provide a helping hand to the displaced in the two camps, especially now winter is approaching.

South Darfur

Ali al-Tahir, head of Kalma camps in South Darfur, told Radio Dabanga in an interview that the displaced suffer from a lack of blankets, mattresses and plastic sheets.

He emphasized that they did not receive support (for non-food items) from any humanitarian organization for more than three years.

Al-Tahir added that the living conditions are harsh and require urgent attention from humanitarian organizations as well as from the authorities to provide them with blankets, plastic sheets and mosquito nets.

He said that children and elderly are suffering the most and appealed to humanitarian and charitable organizations to urgently provide aid for the displaced.

Activists from Zam Zam camp, near El-Fasher in South Darfur, told Radio Dabanga that donors provided items such as blankets and mattresses to the camp for around 2300 families, only one percent of the camp's population, they added.

The camp accommodates approximately 162.000 displaced persons, of whom 122.000 are registered with the World Food Programme. One of the activists added that 'even though aid is offered based on the number of registrations, the received quantities are not sufficient'.

He described the situation in the camp, with the onset of winter, as 'very difficult' due to the lack of blankets and mattresses for about 98 % of the residents and that children and elderly are especially fragile under these circumstances.

Camp activists have appealed to donor organizations and UNICEF to intervene immediately and resolve the issue.

They added that previously the donors provided non-food items for around 14.000 families. The activists explained that the aid has been reduced to 9500 families last year and has been reduced to 2303 families this year.

They stated that this numbers counts for less than 1% of the camp's residents. They added to Radio Dabanga that the camp is witnessing an increased influx of newly displaced from areas south of El-Fasher and East Jebel Marra.

West Darfur

Activists and representatives from the ten camps in El-Geneina, West Darfur, told Radio Dabanga that non-food items such as blankets and mattresses have been distributed in the camps by sheikhs this week.

They claim that the items cover only 10% of the camps' population.

The group of activists and representatives from El-Geneina camps stated that donors provided blankets to around 150 families and two small mattresses in Riyadh camp, adding that camp accomodates 3333 people. The activists claim that the same applies for the other camps in El-Geneina.

Lastly, the group stressed that there are thousands of widows, children and elderly in the camps who cannot afford to buy their own blankets, covers or mattresses to face the winter, they added to Radio Dabanga.

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