Sunday, October 19, 2008
11:16 Mecca time, 08:16 GMT
Thousands 'displaced' in Sudan
A surge in violence in north Darfur last month has displaced thousands of
people, many of whom could be short of food and water, a UN official says.
Gregory Alex, head of the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(Ocha) in northern Darfur, said on Saturday around 24,000 people had fled their
homes after clashes between government and rebel forces near the areas of
Birmaza and Disa.
The rest were displaced because of other forms of violence, including tribal
fighting, Alex told the Reuters news agency in a telephone interview from El
Fasher, the capital of north Darfur.
"Some of them [villagers] left with what they could carry. We are presuming
that whatever resources they took with them are now depleted," Alex said.
"Anybody who leaves home abruptly and moves to the countryside will have all
these needs. And the longer they stay,the more problems they have."
Alex earlier estimated the total number of people who had fled their homes in
North Darfur at 50,000.
Rebel groups said last month government forces and allied militias launched a
series of heavy ground and air assaults on their positions in northern Darfur.
International experts estimate that 200,000 people have died and more than 2.5
million people have fled their homes since the violence flared in Darfur in
2003, when mostly African rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated
Khartoum says 10,000 have died and accuses the international media of
exaggerating the crisis.
The Sudanese army said soldiers had entered some areas the rebels had
mentioned, but that troops were only protecting roads against bandits.
Aid workers said at the time that entire villages had been emptied after
residents took shelter in surrounding mountains and open land - cut off from
food aid and clinics.
Alex and an international aid source said humanitarian access to the areas near
Disa and Birmaza was very limited.
"Nobody is able to reach the area," said the aid worker, speaking on condition
"The security situation is unstable so trying to reach them is very dangerous."
Alex said food and water were not the only supplies needed.
"The season is changing. It is starting to get cold at night, so they need
non-food items as well," he said.
Jusfiq Hadjar gelar Sutan Maradjo Lelo
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