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Thousands of newly displaced people in Darfur

Monday September 13, 2004

Aid agency warns of tens of thousands
of newly displaced people in South Darfur

Recent violence in south Darfur has led to mass movements of people and thousands of displaced people arriving at Greda camp, according to international aid agency Oxfam.

In recent days Greda camp has been overwhelmed by fresh arrivals fleeing renewed violence. On
August 26 the camp housed approximately 10,000 displaced people, by September 7 the camp had boomed to over 40,000 people. People are still arriving every day at the camp.

“Literally tens of thousands of people have poured into the camp in recent days and the flow still hasn’t stopped. A quadrupling of numbers puts a massive strain on resources and infrastructure. Oxfam is working flat out to try and provide for the thousands of newly displaced and vulnerable people, but what we need most is an end to the insecurity,” said Gemma Swart, an Oxfam aid worker in Greda camp.

The new arrivals have generally walked for two days to the camp from areas to the east, with the biggest flows of people fleeing on August 28, 29 and 3. Oxfam is one of only two agencies working in the camp and the new arrivals are currently without even the basics such as plastic sheeting for shelter.

“We had no choice but to flee and now we have nothing. It’s worst when it rains, we have to sit up all night and hold our sleeping mats over our heads for shelter, we can’t get any sleep and are exhausted,” said one woman who had just arrived at the camp with her family.

The camp is 100km south of Nyala and the state of the roads means it takes supply trucks five or six days to get there. Oxfam has already build 300 latrines and is continuing work to improve the sanitary condition in the camp. Water supplies are also inadequate with the population being forced to drink water straight from the wadi (river). Oxfam is looking at ways to improve availability of clean water. Oxfam is also planning to distribute jerrycans, buckets and plastic sheeting for shelter in the coming weeks.

Oxfam New Zealand have raised NZ $390,000 for emergency work in Darfur, Sudan and in refugee camps in neighbouring Chad. To donate call 0800 600 700 or visit www.oxfam.org.nz

ENDS

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