17,000 refugees face tough humanitarian situation in Darfur

Over 17,000 refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are facing tough humanitarian conditions in the remote South Darfur area of Um Dafug near the border with the Central African Republic (CAR), a local official told Sudan Tribune.

Tribal clashes in Central Darfur state forced some 9800 people to flee their village to Um Dafug. Also, the district received over 1,200 refugees from the CAR, along with 6,000 Sudanese who moved back to their country as result of the sectarian fighting in the troubled neighboring country.

The commissioner of Um Dafug Mohamed Ali Sharif, said the county is harboring over 17,000 people including IDPs, refugees and returnees who fled the violence between Christian and Muslim militias in the CAR. “All of them are living in miserable humanitarian conditions. The IDPs and refugees are in desperate need of basic services including life-saving food, health and the environment services as well as shelter materials,” Sharif said.

He said that the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) delivered on Monday humanitarian assistance to the needy in Um Dafug. He also praised the efforts exerted by the humanitarian groups in the state expressing hope to provide all the necessary needs for the affected population.

They also underlined the need to provide sufficient quantities of potable water, and erecting safe sanitation facilities. “66 per cent of people in Um Dafug practice open defecation”, said an inter-agency report.

 [Sudan Tribune]

World Food Program to suspend aid to Syrians

The United Nations food aid organization said on Monday that it would suspend assistance to more than 1.7 million Syrian refugees because it had run out of money to support them.

The organization, the World Food Program, said the suspension, taking place immediately, would have “disastrous” consequences for refugees from the Syrian civil war struggling to cope with years of deprivation. Food aid in Syria will come to a halt in February if WFP does not receive additional funds.

The cut in aid will also affect refugees in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey who receive vouchers from the program to exchange for food in local shops. The same mechanism also provides an economic lifeline to communities struggling to cope with the huge influx of Syrian refugees in the last four years.

The food aid cuts “couldn’t come at a worse time,” António Guterres, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, said in a statement. “It will impact tens of thousands of the most vulnerable refugee families who are almost entirely dependent on international aid.”

The sudden imposition of the cuts highlights the growing strain all humanitarian aid agencies are facing as they try to cope with a long list of emergencies in places like Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan, Syria and Ukraine.

[New York Times]