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May 22, 2013

UN Envoy Pledges to Lobby for More Darfur Aid

Top U.N. relief official Valerie Amos pledged Wednesday to lobby for more funding for humanitarian operations in Darfur after visiting the largest camp for internally displaced persons (IDP) in North Darfur.

During Amos's visit to the Zam Zam camp in North Darfur, she was handed a letter by displaced people, in which they outlined the difficult and deteriorating conditions in which they live, a VOA News reporter who traveled to Darfur with Amos said.

The letter handed to Amos said aid has been declining since Sudanese President Omar al Bashir kicked several humanitarian aid groups out of Darfur in 2009, after the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague issued a warrant for his arrest.

The previous year, Bashir became the first sitting head of state to be indicted by the ICC.

In the years since then, food supplies in IDP camps in Darfur have declined, leading to a rise in malnutrition, the letter handed to Amos said.

The camp's four health centers face shortages of medicine, and 62 water pumps are supposed to serve the 102,000 people who live in the camp, with new IDPs arriving at Zam Zam on a regular basis.

The number of IDPs in Darfur has risen by 300,000 since the start of the year.

In the letter, the displaced also complained of piles of uncollected garbage, sanitation facilities that don't work, and poor school facilities for children in the camp.

According to the U.N. website, Amos stressed that “we cannot let Darfur slip off the radar screen of the international community.”

The U.N. website quotes her as telling reporters in Khartoum that “whether it is Darfur, South Kordofan or Blue Nile, what is needed above all else is for the fighting to stop and for the conflicts to be resolved by peaceful means.”

The visit by Amos comes after 10 years of conflict in Darfur, where some 1.4 million people have been displaced.

The UN envoy's four-day visit to Sudan wrapped up on Thursday.
Darfur has seen an increase of 300,000 IDPs since the start of the year.

According to the U.N. website, Amos stressed that “we cannot let Darfur slip off the radar screen of the international community.”

The U.N. website quotes her as telling reporters later in the day in Khartoum that “whether it is Darfur, South Kordofan or Blue Nile, what is needed above all else is for the fighting to stop and for the conflicts to be resolved by peaceful means.”

The visit by Amos comes after 10 years of conflict in Darfur, where some 1.4 million people have been displaced.

The UN envoy's four-day visit to Sudan ended on Thursday.