Long-term ethnic conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan escalated in 2002/03 into open warfare, forcing an estimated 1.6 million people to flee their homes and creating a humanitarian emergency. The majority of the internally displaced people, known as IDPs۪, were housed in temporary camps within Darfur, where they remained vulnerable to attacks and where their presence put pressure on already scarce environmental resources. The JEU conducted, along with partners, a rapid assessment of environmental conditions in three Darfur IDPs camps. The assessment identified serious emerging environmental problems in the camps, including water and waste management issues. The assessment also concluded that many of the identified problems could be addressed through the application of existing tools and knowledge.
The Darfur assessment confirmed that displaced persons۪ camps can have major negative environmental impacts due to a survival-driven need to exploit natural resources, inadequate waste management and the life-threatening lack of proper sanitation. Addressing these and other environmental concerns needs to be integral to effective camp planning and management so that negative environmental impacts are reduced and natural resources used in a sustainable manner. “Sustainable camp management can also contribute to the integration of the environment as a core element in return and resettlement plans” said Charles Kelly, Rapid Environmental Impact Assessment Project Lead Researcher.
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