ERC IN DARFUR: PUT THE NEEDS OF PEOPLE FIRST

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 08 Nov 2010
(New York/Darfur, Sudan, 8 November 2010): On the fifth day of her six-day visit to Sudan, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC) Valerie Amos continued her visit to Darfur.

In Nyala, the state capital of South Darfur, the ERC met the Deputy Governor, Dr. Abdelkarim Musa Abdelkarim, and other government officials. During the meeting, the Deputy Wali promised to authorize a request to set up a humanitarian hub--possibly in Deribat -- where supplies and staff could be positioned to facilitate access into Jebel Marra.

The ERC focused her field visit on the issues of displacement and returns. In a transit center in Nyala, she met displaced families who had chosen to return to West Darfur. Some had recently travelled to their areas of origin on a "go and see" visit, organized by the humanitarian community, in order to assess conditions on the ground. Apart from the return package the returnees will receive, they requested assistance with transport, agricultural support, health and education.

Ms. Amos said that the UN was ready to support returns as long as they were voluntary, the area of proposed return proved to be the area of origin and was considered secure, and basic services were available. "This is all about putting the needs of the people first. There are clear principles that underlie humanitarian action and return processes that need to be adhered to," she emphasized.

In the nearby relocation site of Sakale, on the outskirts of Nyala, the ERC met communities that had voluntarily agreed to relocate there permanently from Kalma camp. The site has become an integral part of the suburbs of Nyala and gives families an opportunity to rebuild their lives.

Ms. Amos also visited Kalma camp, one of Darfur's largest displacement camps. Most people she talked to at a general food distribution center said that they did not want to return home at this time as they did not consider their areas of origin to be safe. The ERC said that "security is the key consideration for both the people who choose to stay in Kalma camp and for those who are considering return".

"When displaced people do not want to return to their area of origin, we need to help them find a place within existing communities and support the development of sustainable livelihoods," Ms. Amos said.

On Tuesday, the ERC will be in Khartoum and will meet senior Government officials, donors, and nongovernmental organization and United Nations representatives.

For further information, please contact -- OCHA-Sudan: Christophe Illemassene, +249912179076; OCHA-New York: Stephanie Bunker, +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1 347 244 2106, bunker@un.org OCHA-Geneva: Elisabeth Byrs, +41 22 917 2653, mobile +41 79 473 4570, byrs@un.org

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