UN says aid system stretched as thousands flee new Darfur unrest

KHARTOUM: Thousands of people who have fled to displaced camps after renewed violence in Sudan’s Darfur region are putting further pressure on an already-stretched aid system, the United Nations said Wednesday.

Most of those escaping the fighting have ended up at the Kalma and Al-Salam camps outside the South Darfur state capital Nyala, Adnan Khan, acting chief of the UN in Sudan, said in a statement.

“As these camps also received many newly displaced people last year, the available services such as water and medical care are already thinly stretched,” Khan said, adding that aid agencies are organizing extra water and food for the new arrivals.

He said they have reportedly fled fighting between rebels and the Sudanese Armed Forces and allied paramilitary groups in the Um Gunya area, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Nyala.

“Last year saw more people displaced in Darfur than in any single year since the height of the Darfur conflict in 2004,” Khan said.

“Unfortunately, what we are seeing in Darfur is a trend, where conflict and violence impacts the lives of ordinary people with increasing frequency.”

On Tuesday the International Organization for Migration said it had registered more than 19,000 new arrivals at Kalma and Al-Salam camps.

An estimated 20,000 more had fled to Saniya Deleiba village, also near Nyala, the UN’s World Food Program said.

WFP trucks delivered food to the village on Tuesday.

The United Nations says a total of almost two million people are displaced in Darfur. They have fled 11 years of government-rebel fighting which was compounded last year by worsening inter-Arab militia violence and a rise in criminality.

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