September 8, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - An estimated 144,000 people have been displaced in East Darfur since renewed fighting broke out between the Reizegat and Maalia tribes in early August, according to the Sudanese government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC).
The figure was cited for the first time in the latest weekly bulletin from the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), ending 1 September.
The majority of people have fled to the Abu Karinka and Adila localities, which have seen an influx of 83,790 and 50,000 people respectively.
Smaller numbers have also fled to areas in Ed Daein locality and North Darfur state.
HAC said those affected are in urgent need of food, non-food relief supplies, emergency shelter, education, water and sanitation and health assistance.
However, OCHA said access to Adila and Abu Karinka localities remains particularly difficult due to government restrictions on movement and security concerns in the region, with inter-agency needs assessments yet to be conducted in conflict-affected areas.
More than 100 people were killed when tribal clashes erupted in the Kilaikil area located north of the state capital, El Daein, which both the Maalia and Rezeigat claim as part of their territory.
The Maalia have accused the East Darfur governor, Abdel-Hamid Musa Kasha, who is a member of the rival Rezeigat tribe, of siding with the Rezeigat and supplying them with government-issue vehicles and weapons.
On 22 August, both tribes signed a ceasefire agreement to end fighting and resolve their differences peacefully.
International NGO Tearfund, which earlier this month visited El Jelabi village about 20km from Ed Daein town, said an estimated 2,730 displaced people who have arrived in the area from Dar El Salam town and Sheikh Dahab village also remain in urgent need of basic services.
According to community leaders, inhabitants of Dar El Salam fled the village after it was partially burned down and its medical clinic looted. Residents of Sheikh Dahab village have also reportedly fled amid violence in the region.
HUMANITARIAN AGENCIES RESPOND
OCHA said while humanitarian organisations have mobilised to assist people displaced by inter-tribal fighting, shortages of non-food relief items and medical supplies continue to pose a significant challenge to relief operations.
The large number of newly displaced people has also put pressure on existing health services across the region.
On 29 August, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) distributed emergency food rations for up to15 days to 5,190 newly displaced people in Mina Al Bary and El Jelabi villages in Ed Daein locality, as well as 50,000 people in Adila town and Sharif in Adila locality.
Food distribution also commenced across five locations in the Abu Karinka locality.
Tearfund says it currently has only enough non-food relief supplies for about 2,750 people or 550 families in its warehouse in Ed Daein town - well short of the requirements needed for an estimated 30,000 newly displaced families.
“Due to the limited presence of partners in Adila and Abu Karinka localities, the identification of potential partners, including national NGOs, is urgently needed to increase response capacity”, OCHA said in its bulletin.
REPORTS OF NEW CLASHES
Despite the recent peace agreement signed between the Maalia and Reizegat tribes, the UN has continued to receive reports of fresh clashes in the region.
On 25 August, local sources reported the killing of a Reizegat pastoralist by two Maalia tribesmen at Kalaju, about 12kms south-west of Muhajeriya town. In retaliation, Reizegat tribesmen reportedly killed the two Maalia tribesmen.
The following day a Reizegat tribesman was reportedly injured following tribal clashes in Dar El Salam village in Karinka locality, about 35kms east of Ed Daein.