DWAG is deeply concerned about a series of recent fires that have erupted across Sudan this March and February, which have killed at least 7 children and caused devastating losses of property, including homes, livestock, and businesses. Many formerly displaced families once more find themselves without homes, and many more – including even those already in camps for the displaced – have suffered greatly. Many are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. The international community must not look away as innocent lives suffer and risk loss.

Last weekend, fires broke out in South and West Kordofan. On Sunday, a fire erupted in Rashad, South Kordofan destroying homes, businesses, and property on the El Dhaltaya mine.  On Saturday, a fire erupted in the village of El Serdiba, West Kordofan, destroying 22 homes and part of a school, and another fire left 60 houses completely destroyed and 4 partially damaged in the village of Jali, West Kordofan. Yet another fire broke out in a market on the Sudan-Egypt border in Argeen, Northern State. An unspecified number of businesses and homes were damaged after the fire started in the western part of the market.

On Friday, March 17, a fire broke out in the village of Rahad El Aman consuming 43 homes. On the same day in a separate incident, a fire broke out in a market in the Rail Market in Beleil, South Darfur. At least 10 shops were destroyed. The next day, a fire broke out in the village of ​​Muqaisim El Mahboub, West Kordofan, destroying 12 homes, and causing extensive damage to property and crops.

Earlier this month, fires in El Salam, South Darfur, destroyed 75% of the village of Donki Dereisa, killed 5 children, and left thousands homeless. Most of the victims were formerly internally displaced and had returned voluntarily, and the locality did not have any food, water, health assistance, or other basic necessities to provide as assistance to the survivors. Another fire in East Darfur killed a child in the El Neem camp for displaced people and destroyed homes and livestock; yet other fires in East Darfur destroyed more than 300 homes in total.

In February, fires in Buram, South Darfur killed a child and destroyed an unspecified amount of property, while fires destroyed more than 80 homes in Mershing and Manawashi, as well as crops and building materials. A fire in El Safaa in El Taweisha, North Darfur, also burned down 13 houses, agricultural crops and local building materials.

As a result of all these fires, hundreds of people are now displaced and require urgent humanitarian assistance. While the exact causes of the fires seem to be natural, the people of Sudan are already immensely vulnerable because of government oppression and genocidal violence in Darfur. Natural disasters have the potential to worsen existing tensions and exacerbate violence and vulnerability to violence in affected areas.

In accordance, DWAG calls on the Biden Administration and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to take the following actions to safeguard the lives and wellbeing of Sudanese people:

Provide emergency humanitarian assistance to all endangered, displaced, or dispossessed,
Pressure the Sudanese government to open up efficient access to humanitarian assistance,
Authorize UN or neutral international forces to protect civilians in Darfur, where the risk of genocide remains and may amplify (or be amplified by) the effect of fires;

The global community must prioritize the safety of innocent civilians, including women and children. We must continue to speak up and demand protection and sufficient humanitarian assistance for the victims and survivors of natural disasters, as well as accountability for perpetrators of violence and genocide in Darfur and Sudan. Together, we can make a difference.