Sudan's Displaced Eke Out Existence

Category: World Affairs Topics: Sudan Views: 989

MAYO, Sudan (AFP) - Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese who have fled drought, famine and civil war are eking out their existence in shanty-towns around the capital Khartoum, depending on relief agencies for their survival.

Last week in the eastern region of Haya, another 98,000 Sudanese abandoned their villages to escape hunger, as a result of drought which is killing livestock and destroying crops, the Sudanese news agency SUNA reported.

But it was not immediately clear how many of them would drift to the camps around the Sudanese capital.

Mayo, around 15 kilometers (nine miles) north of the capital, is an endless sprawl of mudbrick buildings, with unpaved streets whose dirt surface is kicked up by the wind, just like so many African cities.

In contrast to the center of Khartoum, there is no electricity and a steady parade of donkeys pull tanks of drinking water which draw camp residents bearing buckets and jugs.

The overwhelming majority of these "displaced people," as opposed to the "refugees" from neighboring countries, have come from African communities in southern Sudan or the center, such as the Nuers, Dinkas or Nubas.

Around 235,000 people are registered in the camps at Mayo and Jebel Aulia, near Khartoum, and in those of Wad al-Beshir and Dar es-Salam, near Omdurman, a big city next to Khartoum, a government relief official said.

There are another 200,000 people who have not been registered as displaced.

Out of Sudan's 30 million people, there are a total of around two million people who have been displaced inside the country, a figure which varies from one year to the next, the government relief official said.

The fate of the displaced has defied solution since the civil war erupted in 1983 -- with the southern rebels fighting the political and religious supremacy of the Muslim north -- and since the famines of 1985-86.

Several humanitarian organizations work in Mayo, including France-Sudan Hope 21, a French group which has set up a consultation room, a laboratory for blood analysis and a pharmacy, employing 12 people and a doctor.

Malayria, dysentery, and urinary infections are the diseases which are most common among the 30 people examined daily, medical assistant Azra Mussa Masua said.

The association will build a water tower, and solar panels to provide electricity to a refrigerator storing vaccines, as well as a porch roof for patients standing outside the pharmacy, association member Alain Allegre said.

Several hundred meters (yards) away the French humanitarian group, Medecins sans Frontieres, has opened a clinic and three nutrition centers, which mainly welcome children.

"We have cases of malnutrition and emaciation," Doctor Ruben Mariel said.

"Children lack food and vitamins. Women leave in the morning to work in the city as maids and return in the evening. Their babies wait," he added.

"As for the men, they have nothing to do, or they leave for six months to work in Gezira," the farm region between the White and Blue Niles south of Khartoum, he said.

"The children are hungry and are left to take care of themselves," according to the doctor.

  Category: World Affairs
  Topics: Sudan
Views: 989

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