Darfur, where the population is living through a "nightmare" after weeks of war in Sudan, is heading towards a new "humanitarian disaster" that the world must prevent, the UN's head of humanitarian affairs, Martin Griffiths, pleaded on Thursday.
"Darfur is rapidly heading towards a humanitarian disaster. The world cannot allow this to happen. Not again," he said in a statement, even though the region was the scene of a war in the early 2000s that left around 300,000 people dead.
"As the conflict in Sudan enters its third month, the humanitarian situation across the country continues to deteriorate," he noted, referring to the 1.7 million displaced people and half a million refugees, the looting of humanitarian supplies and the hundreds of deaths as a result of fighting between the army of General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhane and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo.
But "I am particularly worried about the situation in Darfur, where the population is trapped in a waking nightmare: babies dying in the hospitals where they are being treated, children and mothers suffering from severe malnutrition, displaced persons' camps set on fire, girls raped, schools closed, families eating leaves to survive", he described.
"Inter-communal violence is spreading, threatening to reignite the ethnic tensions that fueled the deadly conflict 20 years ago," he added.
"Reports of ethnic killings of hundreds of people in the besieged town of El-Geneina (West Darfur), although unconfirmed, should alone spur the world to action," he insisted, also denouncing the obstruction of humanitarian aid.
In the early 2000s, General Daglo, head of the Janjawid Arab militia, conducted a scorched earth policy against ethnic minorities in Darfur on the orders of the then dictator, Omar al-Bashir.
The war left around 300,000 people dead and nearly 2.5 million displaced, according to the UN. The Janjaweed officially gave birth to the RSF in 2013.