Insecurity in Darfur has forced humanitarian agencies to reduce staff and cutback on their relief operations. One of the agencies still operating in the worsening conditions is OXFAM. Caroline Nursey is OXFAM’s country manager for Sudan. From Khartoum, he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua.
“There’s been general deterioration in security right across Darfur, which is of course a huge area the size of (the southern US state of) Texas. We ourselves are working in El Fasher, which is the capital of North Darfur (State)…Tuesday of last week we had to evacuate some of our staff from there. And we weren’t able to go in and work in the camps for a week. We’re now back in again, but the situation is still pretty precarious. We had to completely evacuate from another area during October. We’ve gone back in again, but this in and out situation obviously hampers the delivery of vital aid to people on the ground,” she says.
OXFAM’s work centers around providing clean water and sanitation to hundreds of thousands of people who’ve been displaced. The work is vital to prevent outbreaks of disease.
“One of the problems is that the conflict is becoming more and more complex. There are different rebel groups fighting against each other. There are rebel groups fighting against government. There’s inter-tribal fighting. And that makes it more and more difficult for aids agencies because we can no longer know who we need to talk to to make sure an area is safe for us to take in assistance,” she says.
Despite a peace deal being sign last May, Nursey says conditions have steadily worsened since then.