IDPs in Ag Geneina, West Darfur live in overcrowded gathering sites
Kalduma Adam Mohammed and her eight children stay under a tree, day and night, at a gathering site near the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in Ag Geneina, West Darfur as they cannot set up a makeshift shelter. “Mahal mafi [there is no space],” she explains in Arabic.
Kalduma and her children arrived in Ag Geneina on 16 January after they fled Krinding 2 IDP camp outside Ag Geneina following inter-communal violence last month. Tens of thousands of other IDPs arrived in the town, seeking shelter and safety in about 80 gathering sites, mostly public buildings, including schools.
Over the past weeks, humanitarian organisations have been ramping up response efforts in Ag Geneina. Kalduma and her children are amongst an estimated 67,400 IDPs in the town who received food for one month, blankets and other non-food relief supplies.
However, there are only five latrines for about 3,500 IDPs at the gathering site. Humanitarian agencies are providing safe and clean water, setting up water storage facilities, and a health clinic started serving the IDPs on 5 February. However, “congestion and lack of learning for children are key concerns,” said Taha Juma Ishaq, a chair of the IDP committee at the gathering site.
Meanwhile, humanitarians working on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are supplying more than 35,000 IDPs in Ag Geneina with water.
The plight of Kalduma and her children highlights the needs of more than 180,000 people in Darfur who fled their homes during the first month of 2021. In one month alone, more people were displaced than in the whole of 2021, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) data.
Meanwhile, emergency response is strained by lack of funds as aid agencies tend to receive the bulk of humanitarian funding during the second half of any given year. Aid organisations need early and flexible funding for the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan to sustain humanitarian operations and provide timely response.
Overall, humanitarian agencies in Sudan need US$1.9 billion to save lives and provide humanitarian assistance to 8.9 million people across the country in 2021. The cost of the response for 100,000 people in West Darfur for six months is estimated at $30 million. The key priorities are protection, WASH, shelter and NFIs, and education in emergencies.
So far, about $7 million have been mobilized for West Darfur response, about half of which is re-programmed funding. New funding includes $1.3 million from the Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SHF), $550,000 from the USAID through IOM’s Rapid Response Fund, and $270,000 from the Start Network.
Meanwhile, Kalduma is thinking about what they will do next. Like about 67 per cent of other IDPs in Ag Geneina (according to IOM) she would like to return to the camp they came from if the security is provided, their shelter is rebuilt, and basic services are available. “Our situation [at the gathering site] is unbearable,” she said.