UNAMID Force Commander meets displaced in Khor Abeche, South Darfur
EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan, May 23, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- On 20 May 2014, UNAMID Force Commander Lt. Gen. Paul Mella travelled to Khor Abeche, South Darfur, to assess the situation of the displaced Darfuris settling close to UNAMID's base; following a 22 March displacement that led to approximately 3,000 people taking refuge inside UNAMID's compound.
To create a safe area in which the IDPs could live, a team of UNAMID engineers worked to construct new camp 70,000 square metres in size adjacent to the Mission's base. The camp, now is almost completed, has a secure perimeter, watch towers, solar lights, two community centres, a school and latrines. The IDPs have settled in the camp, which is designed to provide them with enhanced physical protection. UNAMID continues to provide the IDPs with water and some limited healthcare services.
In a meeting with the IDP leaders, the Force Commander accompanied by the Sector South Commander Brig. Gen. Ijioma N. Ijioma listened to their concerns regarding the general security situation in the area. The leaders thanked UNAMID for its support and requested more assistance, particularly in the provision of firewood patrols and in the construction of education facilities for the children.
Ms. Alawia Ibrahim, speaking on behalf of the women IDPs, requested support for income-generating activities. “We don't have anything to fall back on,” she said. “Everything was destroyed, leaving us to rely on relief aid from WFP [the UN World Food Programme].”
Force Commander Mella assured the IDP leaders of the Mission's commitment to protection of civilians. "UNAMID has revamped its protective measures to help prevent attacks on civilians," he said. “Let us continue to work together to create a stable environment that will contribute to lasting peace here in Khor Abeche and across Darfur.”
In the 22 March incident, armed men destroyed a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) near UNAMID's base, setting fire to dozens of shelters and stealing livestock belonging to the residents. In anticipation of the incident approximately 3,000 IDPs who were living there sought refuge in UNAMID's base. The Mission provided protection, shelter, medical care and water to the IDPs and worked with the humanitarian community in Nyala to provide other related emergency support.