Posted by: africanpressorganization | 17 June 2009

UNAMID deputy chief visits site of voluntary returns in west Darfur




UNAMID deputy chief visits site of voluntary returns in west Darfur


EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan, June 17, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Deputy Chief of the joint African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) stated today that the Mission would do all it could to help civilians who have started returning voluntarily to their villages to rebuild their livelihoods and ensure that they can stay in their communities.


Speaking to community elders and youth and women’s group leaders in the West Darfur village of Seraf Jidad, where more than 2,000 families have returned home in the past two months, UNAMID’s Deputy Joint Special Representative (DJSR), Mr. Henry Anyidoho, said it was critical to provide returnees with the necessary support so that their returns are not temporary.


“We will take up the challenge – UNAMID, together with UN agencies and NGOs [non-governmental agencies], as well as the Government – to see how quickly we can come to your aid,” he said.


Mr. Anyidoho said improving security, providing water and rehabilitating infrastructure would be priority tasks for UNAMID, UN agencies and NGOs in villages such as Seraf Jidad, which lies in a relatively fertile area about 45 kilometres southwest of El Geneina, the state capital.


Seraf Jidad and the area immediately surrounding it was home to as many as 8,000 families until January last year, when fighting between Sudanese Government forces and members of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) forced residents to flee to camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs).


But many residents started returning two months ago after local humanitarian officials promised better security and offered plastic sheeting and other materials for the rebuilding of homes.


In his visit to Seraf Jidad, Mr. Anyidoho was accompanied by the Mission’s military and police sector commander, as well as UNAMID civil affairs, human rights, political affairs, humanitarian and gender officials, and representatives of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).


Last week the DJSR visited a South Darfur village, Donki Dreisa, which has also been the scene of returns in recent weeks, and spoke with community leaders there.


Mr. Anyidoho, who is conducting a two-day visit to West Darfur, also met today with the Wali (Governor) of the state, Abu Gasim. He also received briefings from senior UNAMID military, police and civilian officials based in El Geneina, and addressed a town hall meeting of staff.



United Nations – African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)




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