UNAMID Visits Voluntary Returnees in South Darfur

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On 9 April 2015, as part of a series of visits to assess the situation of voluntary returnees in South Darfur, UNAMID’s Head of Office, Sector South, Imtiaz Hussain, accompanied by a team of engineers from the Nyala Water Corporation, visited Donki Dereisa village, located some 60 kilometres southwest of Nyala town.

The village and surrounding areas have been going through severe water shortages which have, according to the villagers, exacerbated clashes between farmers and cattle herders.

During the visit the delegation met with Sheiks and community elders in the village where the latter expressed their concern over the dwindling water resources, the security situation and basic facilities including healthcare and schooling.

On his part, Mr. Hussain assured the community of UNAMID’s continued support and said that he would make all efforts to ensure the involvement of relevant UN Country Team members to resolve their issues.

Earlier, on 1 and 2 April 2015, a team from UNAMID in Nyala, South Darfur, led by Mr. Hussain, visited Murraiaijangei and Babaa villages to assess the voluntary return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in South Darfur.

During the visit to Murraiaijangei village, located some 50 kilometres from Nyala town, Mr. Hussain met with community leaders who briefed him on the needs and concerns of the returnees. During the meeting, the community leaders highlighted some of the challenges affecting the villages, including lack of water due to a broken water pump generator and the need for rehabilitation of the basic school, hospital and community centre.

Similarly, in Babaa village, community elders listed provision of security, especially during the rainy season when tensions between farmers and pastoralists increase. They also expressed concern over a broken dam, which was built to divert stream water to irrigate farms, which was destroyed by heavy rains leaving the farms dry.

Additionally, community leaders revealed that the hospital in the area was understaffed and not equipped to meet the health needs of the local population in the area. They also said that most returnees lack livelihood projects and requested creation of job opportunities for youth, clubs and women’s centres.

On his part, Mr. Hussain said that the Mission will explore ways on how to support the voluntary returnees in both villages as well as address some of the other concerns raised during the meetings.