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More than 1 million languish in Darfur camps as new waves of violence force 100,000 more to flee

By Vanessa Parra

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The escalating violence that has gripped Darfur in recent weeks has forced over 100,000 civilians to flee their homes and villages. Many of the Darfuris who have fled have no access to essential humanitarian assistance and are unable to reach safety. Oxfam has launched a response aimed at reaching more than 90,000 people with clean water, emergency latrines, and critical supplies like plastic sheeting for shelter and soap to help prevent outbreaks of disease.

Responsibility to protect civilians

Families living through this ordeal need something more urgently than aid: they need safety. The Government of Sudan and opposition leaders must immediately halt the violence. Oxfam also calls on UNAMID, the joint United Nations and African Union mission in Darfur, to prioritize its mandate to protect civilians and to work with humanitarian actors and others to find ways to protect the men, women, and children of Darfur.

“More than a million people are still living in the camps of Darfur,” says El Fateh Osman, Oxfam’s Country Director in Sudan. “The fact that some Darfuri refugees have lived in camps for over a decade is just unfathomable. The only thing that will ensure that they will be able to return to their homes and help restore their communities is guarantees for their safety and security.”

More broadly, the upsurge in violence reflects the urgent need for a peace agreement that encompasses all regions and addresses the root causes of the conflicts in Sudan.

Oxfam is there

Oxfam has been working in Sudan for over 30 years. Working directly and through Sudanese partner organizations, Oxfam is providing more than 420,000 people with aid that includes clean water, sanitation facilities, fuel-efficient stoves, agricultural support like seeds, tools, and extension services, and assistance to help single mothers and other disadvantaged groups create small businesses to support their families.