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Since the conflict began in 2003, about two million people across Darfur have been displaced. Homeless and destitute, most have ended up in sprawling IDP camps and towns. There, Oxfam is supporting a large number of them by providing water, sanitation, hygiene promotion and the distribution of essential items such as water containers, soap, mats, blankets and women’s clothing. Two of the smaller camps in North Darfur are Shangil Tobai and Shadad, which have grown on the edge of Shangil Tobai town, about 80kms south of the provincial capital El Fasher. Together, the two camps are home to nearly 20,000 people. Most have fled villages in the surrounding area, many just a few miles away.
Almost straddling the border of Darfur and Chad, and less than 30 kilometres from the Central African Republic, the town of Um Dukhun perfectly illustrates the increasingly regional nature of the Darfur crisis, spilling over into neighbouring countries. Before the conflict it was a small town famous for its market that attracted traders from all over the region. Today, as well as people seeking refuge from violence and attacks on villages elsewhere in Darfur, thousands of refugees from Chad have sought shelter here.