Darfur humanitarian situation 'serious'

New York- US (PANA) -- UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, John Holmes, on Saturday expressed concern over the humanitarian situation in Sudan's war-ravaged Darfur region, describing it as â?seriousâ?.
He also noted that the recent clashes between the Sudanese government forces and rebels have uprooted tens of thousands of people from their homes.
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have suspended operations in eastern Jebel Marra due to insecurity.
A UN statement given to PANA in New York stated that Holmes expressed the concer n at meetings he held on Saturday with the acting Governor of South Darfur and o t her officials in Nyala.
It said during the meetings he emphasised the need for the government to allow a nd facilitate access for humanitarian agencies.
â?The problem in eastern Jebel Marra is that we don't know what the situation i s because we don't have access,â? he said.
Holmes, who concludes a his five-day visit to Sudan on Sunday, also expressed se rious concern over the safety of aid workers in Darfur.
The statement said: â?A staff member from the United States working with the NG O Samaritan's Purse has been held since being abducted in South Darfur on 18 May , the latest in a string of kidnappings in recent months.
â? It said Holmes also visited Sakale Ali Wali settlement in Nyala, where some 1,00 0 displaced families had been given title to their land for building permanent s t ructures.
â?While they have been given relatively little assistance, their initiative in providing a better life for themselves and their children is evident, despite di f ficult circumstances,â? the statement quoted him as saying.
Holmes said: â?We need to recognise and to support the efforts of internally d isplaced persons and communities to build and sustain livelihoods and move beyon d hand-outs.
"We can see here a step in that direction and it is encouraging.
" Holmes arrived in Sudan last Wednesday after visiting neighbouring Chad during w hich he toured a region in the east where tens of thousands of people have been d isplaced by inter-communal fighting and a spill-over of the Darfur conflict.
His first stop in Sudan, Africa's largest country, was in southern Sudan, where he expressed alarm at the threats to vulnerable people in the area posed by food insecurity, displacements and inter-tribal violence and called it a "recipe for d isaster".
The area is scheduled to hold a referendum on independence early next year as pa rt of a 2005 peace accord that ended 20 years of civil war with the northern-bas e d national government.
On Sunday, Holmes, who also serves as UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, travels t o Khartoum for the final day of his visit to Sudan, where he will meet governmen t , UN and NGO representatives.
The UN said the Darfur conflict between Sudanese military forces and rebel group s has killed some 300,000 people and displaced more than 2.
7 million persons.

30 may 2010 08:14:00

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