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UN humanitarian chief worried by Darfur crisis

The UN head of Emergency Relief Coordination, Jan Egeland, has expressed concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Darfur, western Sudan, and urged the warring sides to desist from deliberately attacking civilians. In a statement issued by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Egeland said insecurity in Darfur had now reached "unprecedented levels", due to fighting between forces loyal to the Sudanese government and the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM). "The humanitarian situation in Darfur has quickly become one of the worst in the world," Egeland said. "I remind combatants of their obligation to minimise the impact of their hostilities on civilian populations, in accordance with international law." The fighting in Darfur which escalated in March this year, has driven an estimated 670,000 people from their homes, 70,000 of whom have fled across the border into neighbouring Chad. At the same time, humanitarian access to the region has been constrained by restrictions on travel permits and insecurity caused by militia activity and banditry. Egeland warned of severe shortages of food, shelter, water and sanitation among the displaced people and urged donors to quickly intervene to avert a worsening situation. So far, he said, only US $12 million, out of the $22.8 million requested by the UN under the "Greater Darfur Special Initiative", launched in September, had been received. "As the need for aid grows, stocks of relief materials are dwindling. Additional supplies are in the pipeline, but unless urgent additional funding is received, a pipeline break is possible at the end of this month," he warned.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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