International community must help Darfur become self-sufficient – UN official

Children singing welcome Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos (left) to the Zam Zam camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in North Darfur, Sudan. UN Photo/Albert González Faran

22 May 2013 – The United Nations humanitarian chief today stressed the international community must do more to ensure the people of Sudan's Darfur region can better provide for themselves.

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos, who is currently on a four-day visit to Darfur, said she was disappointed that after 10 years of humanitarian operations, the region is still not self-reliant.

Darfur has been in a state of crisis for ten years, and the numbers of people affected have grown steadily during that time. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there are now 1.4 million people receiving humanitarian assistance in nearly 100 displacement camps across Darfur.

Ms. Amos said that stronger bridges need to be built between humanitarian and development work. However, this has become increasingly difficult as many non-governmental organizations are facing a serious funding shortage and do not have the resources to meet growing humanitarian needs.

Over the past six weeks, more than 10,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been registered in Kalma camp, just outside Nyala, the capital of South Darfur. Kalma was already home to an estimated 82,000 people, many of whom had been living there for years.

“The humanitarian community needs to think about how it can strengthen its capacity to meet the urgent needs of these people (in Kalma) and the more than 1 million others like them throughout Darfur,” said the Head of Office in Sudan for OCHA, Mark Cutts. “Our focus should shift where possible to building resilience among those affected by the conflict.”

Earlier today Ms. Amos met with internally displaced people at the Zam Zam camp, and held talks with authorities and the head of the joint African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) in El Fasher.


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