August 15, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — The outgoing top United Nations official for humanitarian affairs called on Sudanese government to lift its aid blockade of the Kalma camp in South Darfur.
- Briton John Holmes, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (AP)
“I am extremely concerned about the welfare of the IDPs at Kalma camp, to whom we have not been able to deliver relief for 13 days,” U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes said in a statement released on Friday.
“Deliveries of food and fuel for water pumps have for example not been possible. Sanitation is also a major concern as it is the middle of the rainy season. Many thousands of IDPs from Kalma remain unaccounted for. We need immediate access so we can respond to the needs and conditions of those remaining there. We also need to find out how many people have left, and where they have gone, in order to provide relief to them too” Holmes said.
Two weeks ago, Khartoum prevented aid groups from reaching Kalma camp after fighting erupted inside the camp between supporters of peace talks and those who oppose it which killed more than half a dozen people and injured scores more. Sudanese officials insisted that the peacekeepers hand over those it said were behind the violence which included six IDP’s.
However, the African Union - United Nations mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said it will only do so after receiving guarantees that the six IDP’s will receive humane treatment and fair trials.
"If access is not urgently restored, the situation risks deteriorating rapidly," Holmes said before adding that they are in "close contact" with the government to resolve the issue with regards to Kalma camp and Eastern Jebel Marra.
But Holmes said that to date "progress has not been forthcoming".
Kalma, one of the largest in camps Darfur and home of around 100,000 people, mostly of supporters of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) of Abdel Wahid Al-Nur.