A calm but tense situation has prevailed over the past five days in Kereneik town, West Darfur, with no reports of inter-communal fighting.
The humanitarian situation in Kereneik remains a major concern, due to the insecurity, destruction and disruption of basic services, including stabilization and health centres, lack of major relief items, according to preliminary findings of an NGO multi-sector mission.
The priority needs of the affected/displaced people are access to safe water, food, shelter/NFIs, and health services/medicines.
It is estimated that 85,000 – 115,000 people are displaced due to the violence. However, the numbers are yet to be verified.
Humanitarians have provided initial assistance to cover the health needs of at least 10,000 people for three months in Kereneik. More people will be provided with assistance in the coming days.
The situation in Kereneik, West Darfur, remains a major concern, with a lack of major relief items, according to preliminary findings of an NGO multi-sectoral mission that visited Kereneik on 30 April. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) coordinated and facilitated the overall mission, including Civil Military Coordination (CMCoord).
OCHA also engaged the West Darfur State government in Ag Geneina, local authorities, community leaders in Kereneik town, and the nomads east of the town to ensure support for the mission.
The mission was comprised of international and national NGOs, and focused on the plight of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Kereneik town. The sectors represented on the mission included health; nutrition; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); education; food; protection; child protection; shelter and non-food items (S/NFIs).
The mission had specific objectives to carry out an initial rapid response to identify the critical lifesaving needs of the vulnerable IDP families, including the verification and registration of caseloads, distribution of assistance and rehabilitation of water sources inside Kereneik town. The mission also aimed to assess the most urgent needs of the displaced families to determine the multi-sector crisis emergency response in Kereneik town. Meanwhile, the mission also focused on assessing the rehabilitation needs due to looting of, and damage caused to NGO offices and guesthouses to re-establish and scale up operational presence in Kereneik town.
Key mission findings
In terms of the security, a calm situation has prevailed over the past five days in Kereneik town, while there are no additional checkpoints between Ag Geneina and Kereneik town. However, outside the Kereneik town only members of Arab tribes can move freely, creating concerns for access to services and relief for the communities in Kreineik.
All commercial movement in the area, including small passenger vehicles, is with military escort due to insecurity attributed to the presence of armed people dominating major roads out of Kereneik town. In the meantime, the government deployed civilian protection forces last week, with plans to deploy more forces to Kereneik locality.
The mission reports that 10 vehicles were stolen by the attackers, including one from an international NGO, the hospital ambulance, a police vehicle, and the rest from the community. Another five vehicles were burnt. The Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) in Kereneik locality reported that one of the burnt vehicles belonged to the police, which has since been replaced.
The humanitarian situation is characterized by these priority needs in order of urgency: access to safe water, food, S/NFIs, health services and medicines. In addition, the affected/displaced people do not have cooking sets and need clothes as they lost all their possessions during the attacks. Most of the IDPs are residing near the military camp in Kereneik for protection. Men spend nights under trees and in the open courtyard at the mosque, while women, children and animals spend nights in shared tarpaulins or makeshift shelters in the gathering sites. Local authorities are working directly with individual sheikhs to register the displaced families to provide the number of the IDPs, disaggregated by gathering sites.
It is estimated that 85,000 – 115,000 people are displaced due to the violence. However, the numbers are subject to verification. An international NGO reported that more people arrived in Kereneik town during the time of the mission.
At least 16 villages around Kereneik town were attacked and the residents of the villages were displaced to Kereneik town, to Murayat and Umtajok villages. The 16 villages are Salame, Donghe, Sehebat, Moling, Murayat, Shutak, Kamkak, Shogo, Gadir, Ardeba, Goza, Nyooro, Shawaya, Naema, Sarf Jidad and Gaduri. HAC in Kereneik reported that the villages of Salame, Sihebat, Um Rikena, and Shutak were totally looted, burnt and all the residents displaced.
Several humanitarian volunteers and personnel were reported killed, including a State Ministry of Health (SMoH) medical assistant assigned to the Galala clinic (nomad area) and four volunteer personnel of a national NGO and member of the S/NFIs sector. Several humanitarian facilities including the nutrition center, the hospital, water sources, and the guesthouse of an international NGO were reportedly looted.
The market in Kereneik town is operating with a few vegetable traders while shops remain closed as many were looted and burnt.
Humanitarian agencies have delivered a basic health care kit to Kereneik hospital, which can cover the health needs of at least 10,000 people for three months. In addition, shelter and non-food supplies for 5,000 people were dispatched and will be distributed on 1 May. Transportation of more Non-food items, WASH and Child Friendly supplies is underway for immediate distribution.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.