This is a summary of what was said by Toby Harward, UNHCR Principal Situation Coordinator for Darfur – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is deeply concerned about escalating violence in Sudan’s Darfur region, which has displaced thousands of people since November, including across the border into Chad.
Nearly 10,000 have fled a wave of intercommunal violence in the Jebel Moon locality of West Darfur State. Over 2,000 of them, mostly women and children, have sought refuge in neighbouring Chad.
During an assessment mission to Jebel Moon last week, UNHCR and partners delivered emergency shelter to 1,600 newly displaced families as well as other lifesaving supplies including jerricans, plastic sheets, blankets, sleeping matts, kitchen set, and mosquito nets.
Tensions remain high in Jebel Moon and violent incidents have occurred in the past few days in other West Darfur localities, including in El Geneina on 5 December.
Our teams are also receiving alarming reports from other parts of Darfur about the destruction of villages, sexual violence, and the rustling of livestock. UNHCR is concerned that with the frequency of such attacks increasing, the humanitarian situation in the region will worsen.
The ongoing violence, coupled with a poor rainy season and pest infestation, has also disrupted the farming season across Darfur. Displaced farmers have told UNHCR staff that they are worried about a total failure of their harvest, raising further concerns about food security.
With a growing number of civilians at risk, UNHCR and partners are meeting with State authorities and community leaders to discuss the deteriorating security situation, ensure safe access to all affected areas, and strengthen the coordination of the humanitarian response.
In Chad, new arrivals have found refuge in five locations near the border. They are in urgent need of food, water, and shelter. UNHCR is working with the authorities and our partners to provide them with emergency assistance. Chad hosts 520,000 refugees, 70 per cent of whom are from Sudan.
Sudan has some 3 million internally displaced people, with more than 80 per cent living in the five Darfur States. In 2021, over 200 incidents of violence have been reported in that region, leading to new displacement.