Lack of water in northern Sudan refugee camps threaten tens of thousands

Many of the refugees who fled war in Sudan’s Darfur region have ended up in refugee camps that are now straining to maintain water supplies in the arid region. In June, a United Nations report indicated that the conflict, which has resulted in the deaths of an estimated 200,000 people and made some 2.5 million others homeless, began in part as an agricultural skirmish over water supplies and that climate change was likely to increase water scarcity. Refugees use available water supplies for more than just drinking though. One of the only sources of income in the camps is making and selling mud bricks, which is a relatively water-intensive process. And the impending arrival of a 20,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force to the region is expected to tax water supplies still further. “Not having any clear vision of when exactly the population will be able to go back to their homes, there is no question that the water needs are going to increase,” said the U.N.’s Antoine Gerard.