Civil Protests in Khartoum Affect Crisis in Sudan’s Darfur Region

GENEVA – The mass civil disobedience campaign in the Sudanese capital Khartoum is impeding aid from flowing to flood-stricken victims in the northern Darfur region, the U.N. reports.

Darfur is about 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) from Khartoum, but violent confrontations between civilian protesters and government-allied militias in the capital are hindering aid in Tawilla in North Darfur, where heavy flooding has destroyed the homes of some 2,500 people and affected nearly 900 latrines, which poses an immediate health hazard.

Jens Laerke, spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, says flood victims are in urgent need of shelter, food and non-food items, and health services.

“We hear from our partners that they are facing some challenges in the response partly because of the breakdown of communications of internet and mobile phone connections,” Laerke said about the humanitarian aid efforts. “That means that some of the cash that needs to go to Darfur is not arriving. So, they simply cannot pay locally for the services.”

Darfur violence

In addition to the natural disaster, Laerke tells VOA violent intercommunal clashes broke out in Deleij in central Darfur a few days ago. Following reports of the tribal fighting, he says UNAMID, the U.N.-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur, went to Deleij to investigate.

“UNAMID verified that 17 people had been killed, 15 others injured, and more than 100 houses burned in that incident,” he said. “Banks are closed, other infrastructure there is closed due to the civil disobedience campaign that is ongoing.”

Laerke says U.N. humanitarian operations in Sudan also are struggling for lack of money, with the $1.2 billion U.N. appeal for Sudan funded at only 22 percent.

Source: Voice of America