El Fasher, 13 February 2015 – On 12 February, the Deputy Joint Special Representative (DJSR) of the African Union – United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Abdul Kamara, visited Um Baru in North Darfur, where newly internally displaced persons (IDPs) have sought refuge near the Mission’s team site.
Thousands of civilians, mostly women and children, fled their villages following fighting between Government forces and armed movements last month. Since their arrival to Um Baru, UNAMID peacekeepers, together with UN humanitarian agencies and international nongovernmental organizations (NGO), have been providing protection and services to IDPs who have been temporarily settled in a safe zone built next to the Mission’s base.
In his meeting with United Nations agencies and NGOs operating in the area, Mr. Kamara underscored collaborative efforts and appreciated the coordination between UNAMID and international and local partners mainly in the provision of water, medical assistance, shelter and other assistance. “I am impressed by the work that is going on and the level of coordination demonstrated in responding to this humanitarian challenge,” said the DJSR.
The DJSR also met with representatives of the IDPs and gave audience to their concerns, chief among which was the IDPs wish to relocate from the congested temporarily-occupied land outside the UNAMID team site to a more spacious area.
As the issue of land allocation to temporarily host the new IDPs was a concern to UNAMID and the UN Country Team, the DJSR encouraged them to continue their dialogue with the local commissioner of Um Baru, who had promised to allocate some land in the next days to temporarily accommodate the IDPs. Mr. Kamara emphasized the need to improve temporary living conditions of the newly displaced, even as efforts continue to work towards more sustainable solutions.
The IDPs also expressed their appreciation to the local authorities, to UNAMID and the UNCT, and highlighted the need for adequate water, food, shelter and health services especially for pregnant women and lactating mothers among them.