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Sudan: Darfur

Volume 691: debated on Thursday 26 April 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their estimate of the number of refugees in Darfur who may now be reached by humanitarian aid workers compared with July 2005.[HL3176]

In July 2005, 86 per cent of the nearly 3 million conflict-affected and aid-reliant population were accessible to UN humanitarian aid. The latest figures available indicate that by the beginning of March 2007, the number in need of aid has reached 3,897,352 while the proportion accessible by the UN has dropped to 77 per cent.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What reports they have received concerning (a) Salaam camp, in north Darfur, which cannot take any more displaced people due to water shortages; (b) Abu Shouk camp, which has been closed to newcomers; and (c) Zam Zam, which is close to maximum capacity. [HL3178]

We are gravely concerned for the 2.1 million people displaced in Sudan. The numbers continue to rise with 267,000 newly displaced people over the past six months. The sheer scale of need is putting a great strain on the local environment and infrastructure as well as the capacity to deliver services.

Given the constraints in and around the three camps near El-Fasher, the UN is planning to open a new site nearby. Security and environmental issues make finding a suitable site difficult and UN negotiations are continuing with the Government.

DfID is contributing £40 million to the UN-administered common humanitarian fund in 2007 which allows the humanitarian co-ordinator to direct funding at the most pressing and emerging needs. DfID is also exploring ways to support the UN environment programme in Sudan, focusing on issues such as water and resource management in Darfur.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their estimate of the number of people (a) who were displaced across Darfur in February 2007, and (b) who have fled violence in the region since January 2007; and what is their assessment of the International Committee of the Red Cross report of 22 March 2007 that the plight of the most needy rural communities in Sudan's strife-torn region of Darfur is worsening. [HL3179]

The UN estimate that 30,000 people were displaced in Darfur during February 2007. These constitute part of the 107,405 people displaced between 1 January and 1 April; the majority (79,000) were in south Darfur.

We share the concerns of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) about the vulnerability of rural communities in Darfur. The pervasive insecurity and the growing number of attacks and car-jackings targeting humanitarian agencies, has made consistent access to rural areas very difficult in most areas and impossible in some others. We are supporting the ICRC and other humanitarian agencies with substantial and flexible funding to assist in reaching those in need while maintaining the safety of their staff.

The UK utterly condemns the continuing violence targeting civilians and humanitarian workers in Darfur and calls on all sides to cease the violence immediately, renew the ceasefire and political process, and accept the AU/UN peacekeeping force for Darfur.