Humanitarian situation in Northern Darfur
Conflict or peace in Darfur?
The humanitarian situation in Northern Darfur
Darfur has experienced armed conflict for several years. Glimpses of peace sometimes appear but are soon extinguished.
This page was last updated in 2007. Please note that some information on these pages may no longer be up to date. If you are looking for our previous report on the Human Situation in Darfur (2004), please see our archive pages on Darfur.
The security situation on the ground remains precarious. Despite the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement, fighting has continued in several areas of Darfur. A number of demonstrations were organised against the Agreement, some of which turned violent. There were several attacks on humanitarian aid workers and vehicles in Darfur, while militia groups continued to attack civilian targets and the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS).
Amongst Practical Action's work completed in Darfur last year has been the distribution of some 1,300 ploughs and 30,000 hand tools. We have assisted in the production of 750 terraces. 222 tonnes of millet and 52 tonnes of sorghum were put at the disposal of the farmers for this planting season.
Our specific work with conflict-affected population in Darfur (3,000 families) saw Practical Action providing sets of cooking utensils. This non-food aid support contributed towards the reduction of hardship and helped them living in a dignified manner. The families have also been trained on various models of shelter and efficient stove production. Skills provided will help them conserve their environment when they are back to their home lands.
The history and causes of the conflict
By Mohammed Siddig, Food Security Project Manager, Practical Action Darfur
The Darfur region is a densely populated part of Sudan and is characterized by the multi-ethnicity and contrasting lifestyles of its inhabitants. The people of Darfur are mostly farmers and animal herders. They make their living in very different ways, but all must share the same scarce natural resources in order to survive.
Over the years, Sudan's governments have given little or no attention to actual and potential problems that have faced the region. As a consequence basic services and infrastructure are lacking and Darfur has not progressed beyond its annual balancing act of getting enough rainfall, enough food and enough trade to fend off disaster. This balancing act doesn't always work out and conflicts in Darfur are historically conflicts over natural resources when there is just not enough to go round.
During the terrible droughts of the 1980s, nomads of mostly Arab origin faced with dried out natural pastures started to take their herds into the farms of the resident farmers. They allowed their herds to graze the farmers crops and the farmers, suffering just as much from the drought, defended their land and their crops. Animal herders and farmers clashed, sometimes different groups of herders also fought each other for water or pasture land. Fighting between different groups has led to tribal quarrels and local skirmishes have escalated in to larger tribal conflicts.
The political interest of certain tribes and their affiliations to certain political parties has added a political dimension to the problem. Those who felt marginalized and underdeveloped began attacking the Government. The result was the violent conflict that holds the concern and attention of the world.
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