Aid agencies granted access to Kalma amid expulsions

[Sudan] Malnutrition and disease are on the rise. Displaced mother and child in al-Junaynah, Western Darfur, July 2004.
There is fear of diseases outbreak and rise in malnutrition at Kalma IDP camp, South Darfur, if aid agencies do not resume humanitarian operations. (IRIN)

Fourteen days after Sudanese authorities cut off aid to Kalma, the largest internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in South Darfur, three international NGOs and UN agencies (the UN Children’s Fund, World Food Programme and Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA) have been allowed to re-enter the settlement.

However, this does not mean the camp has been reopened to international aid agencies, Sam Hendricks, spokesman for OCHA in Darfur, told IRIN.

"An assessment mission went to the camp and was allowed to deliver medicines and fuel to run water pumps. Still this is an important step, given that fuel stores had been exhausted for the past week and water is the most pressing humanitarian need," Hendricks told IRIN.

“The capacity of the 24 functioning hand pumps is only sufficient to support about 13,000 residents and IDPs are reported to also be using water from the wadi [river],” he added.

The current population of Kalma is estimated at about 50,000, but the exact number is unclear, said Christopher Cycmanick, spokesman for the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur (UNAMID).

According to UNAMID sources, the 5,000 IDPs who have sought shelter at UNAMID’s local Community Policing Centre since 12 August, following protests inside the camp between supporters and opponents of the Doha peace negotiations, have been relocated to other parts of the camp. Some people whose houses were burned still need shelter.

A kind of calm

The security situation inside the camp has been described as calm, with IDPs returning to their homes and resuming normal activities, Cycmanick told IRIN.

UNAMID also reported that two of the eight sectors of the camp were deserted, mainly the ones affected by violence in the past weeks.

The two Jordanian UNAMID police advisers abducted on 14 August in Nyala, 100m from their residence, had been freed today, Cycmanick added.

Following the kidnapping, UNAMID and the local government commissioned a Chinese engineering company to construct a 40km security trench around Nyala, Cycmanick told IRIN. The work commenced on 15 August and should be finished within five weeks.

Kidnappings of foreign aid workers and UNAMID staff increased last year after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for President Omar el-Bashir. According to UNAMID, at least 21 international aid workers have been kidnapped in Darfur since 2009.

Aid workers expelled

There is still uncertainty regarding the status of the heads of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in West Darfur, as well as the head of UNHCR in Zalengei, who were asked to leave.

“There is lack of clarity of what orders had been issued exactly and meetings were held today in Khartoum to clarify the issue,” Hendricks told IRIN.


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