Fresh fighting brings more misery to people of Darfur

People caught up in renewed fighting in Darfur have been forced to leave everything behind to find refuge in overcrowded and inadequate camps, Tearfund reports.

The development agency said in a report that tens of thousands have been forced to flee in recent weeks, some heading across the border to Chad, others seeking safety elsewhere in Darfur.

One man, Ali Yahia, affected told the development agency of how he and his family arrived at the camp lacking food and drinking water only to find that there was no water, shelter, medical care or even latrines for the refugees.

"Before Tearfund intervened the situation was very bad," he said.

Tearfund gave food, soap, jerry cans, blankets, plastic sheetings and mats to Yahia. To make things better at the camp for others, the development agency has provided materials for the production of latrines and trained people in good hygiene practices.

Halima, 26, had just enough time to grab her five children and start running when fighting broke out in her village.

Her handicraft business, which she started after receiving training from Tearfund, has been destroyed.

She and some of the other villagers came to the town of Um Dukhun, in central Darfur, where Tearfund runs nutrition and community development projects.

Now she is not sure what the future holds for her: "The situation here is difficult for us as we don't have a house and we lost everything in the violence.

"Our property, our crops and our livelihood is gone. We have nothing to call our own except our children.

"Now we are stuck. Even if we wanted to go back we can't because there is no security."

The prospect of hunger is a real fear for Halima.

"I don't know what the future holds for us," she continued.

"We are approaching the planting season and if we don't plant this season, and have nothing else, hunger will look into our eyes soon. It will be worse for me and my five children since we have nothing else to depend on."

With no lasting peace in sight in Darfur, Tearfund said it would continue assisting those caught up in the fighting.

Sarah Pickwick, Tearfund's Policy Officer for Sudan, said, "Sadly although we have reached the tenth anniversary of the conflict in Darfur, violence continues and so does the suffering of the civilian population.

"However Tearfund remains committed to the people of Darfur, particularly helping those who've been displaced get their lives back on track."

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