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Jebel Marra’s clashes displace over 41,000 people: UN

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February 19, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – UN agencies in western Sudan say that the number of the new internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Darfur region has reached more than 41,000 people since last December.

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A group of women build a shelter in Kalma camp for internally displaced people in South Darfur on 9 March 2014 (Photo: UNAMID/Albert Gonzalez Farran)

The region is witnessing a large-scale military campaign carried out by the Sudanese army and militias with operations targeting rebel positions in different parts Jebel Marra in North and Central Darfur states.

“Our humanitarian colleagues tell us that more than 41,000 people have been displaced by conflict in North Darfur and Central Darfur since the beginning of this year,” UN chief spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said at a press conference the UN Headquarters on Thursday.

The spokesperson was referring to a report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) saying that aid groups have assessed and verified the needs of 41,304 IDPs as a result of the ongoing fighting.

Dujarrec further said the number of people in need of assistance and protection may be significantly higher due to the denial of humanitarian access to parts of Jebel Marra where some of the heaviest fighting is reportedly taking place.

He stressed that “OCHA continues to call on all parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and to facilitate immediate access for humanitarian organizations to people in need”.

On 21 January, OCHA said the number of people forced to flee the fighting in Jebel Marra reached more than 18,000 pointing they moved to El-Fasher, Shangil Tobaya, Tawila and Um Baru areas in North Darfur”.

At the time, the UN agency pointed that more than 2,200 IDPs had sought protection with the hybrid UN and African Union peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) in Um Baru.

However, OCHA reported that “as of 12 February, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has registered an estimated 7,500 displaced people taking refuge” near the UNAMID team site in Um Baru.

The World Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF, the UN’s Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) and other humanitarian partners are providing food, water, sanitation supplies and emergency household kits to displaced people in Um Baru and northern El Fasher.

(ST)

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