UN HUMANITARIAN CHIEF IN DARFUR: SITUATION STILL SERIOUS

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 29 May 2010
(New York/Darfur, 29 May 2010): Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes travelled today to Sudan's western region of Darfur on the third day of his four-day visit to the country, visiting South Darfur to assess the progress of humanitarian efforts and to meet officials.

"The humanitarian situation in Darfur remains serious in many places, with many humanitarian needs not just amongst internally displaced people, but also amongst other parts of the population," Mr. Holmes said in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state.

Fighting in recent months between Government and armed movements in Darfur's Jebel Marra and Jebel Moon areas, as well as inter-tribal clashes, have forced tens of thousands more people from their homes. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have suspended operations in eastern Jebel Marra, and humanitarian assessments have been severely limited as a result of poor security and lack of access. In meetings with Government officials, including the acting Governor of South Darfur, Mr. Holmes stressed the urgent need for government to allow and facilitate access for humanitarian organizations.

"The problem in eastern Jebel Marra is that we don't know what the situation is because we don't have access," Mr. Holmes said enable humanitarian access," Mr. Homes said.  "I urge the authorities to do everything they can do to enable humanitarian access"  

He also noted serious concerns for the safety and security of humanitarian workers in Darfur. One American staff member of the NGO Samaritan's remains held since being abducted in South Darfur on 18 May in the latest of a number of kidnappings in Darfur in recent months.

In Nyala, South Darfur, Mr. Holmes toured Sakale Ali Wali settlement, where about a thousand displaced families have been given title to their land for building permanent structures. Residents receive relatively little assistance, but their initiative in providing a better life for themselves and their children is evident, despite difficult circumstances.

"We need to recognize and to support the efforts of IDP communities to build and sustain livelihoods and move beyond hand-outs," Mr. Holmes said. "We can see here a step in that direction and it is encouraging."

Tomorrow the Emergency Relief Coordinator returns to Khartoum for the final day of his visit to Sudan, where he will meet Government, UN and NGO representatives.

For further information, please call: OCHA-Sudan: Dawn Elizabeth Blalock +249 912 140 574, blalock@un.org or    Samuel Hendricks +249 912 174 417, Hendricks@un.org    OCHA-New York: Stephanie Bunker, +1 347 244 2106, mobile +1 347 244 2106, bunker@un.org; Nicholas Reader +1 212 963 4961, mobile +1 646 752 3117, reader@un.org OCHA-Geneva: Elisabeth Byrs,+41 22 917 2653, mobile, +41 79 473 4570, byrs@un.org. OCHA press releases are available at http://ochaonline.un.org or www.reliefweb.int.

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