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Darfur: amid fresh violence, thousands of displaced people now gathering near UN mission base

17 February 2016 – The number of civilians fleeing the recent conflict in the Jebel Marra area in Sudan's Darfur region has jumped to 73,000 from 38,000, according to United Nations estimates, as some 30,000 people flocked to Sortony, where the displaced have been gathering next to a base operated by the African Union-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

Civilians have been leaving the Jebel Marra since hostilities between the Government and a faction of the Sudan Liberation Army escalated in mid-January, and arriving in three main locations in North Darfur state, including an established camp for the displaced in Tawilla, which has accommodated 18,000 individuals since mid-January.

"The situation remains very fluid, and the United Nations and partners have teams on the ground working to assess the needs of those who have recently arrived in Sortony and Tawilla," said Marta Ruedas, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan. "Identifying the needs of vulnerable people is a painstaking exercise, but one that is necessary in order to provide timely and targeted humanitarian relief."

Food and other emergency relief including water, shelter, medical supplies and nutrition supplements were provided to the newly displaced earlier this week, and the UN and partners are working to provide additional humanitarian assistance, according to a press release from the Office of the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.

Thousands are also reported to have fled into Central Darfur but the UN has not yet been able to verify reported displacement or ascertain and respond to humanitarian needs, despite several requests to the authorities to access the relevant areas, the statement said.

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