DARFUR: El Fasher is the dusty capital of North Darfur. About 150,000 people who have fled their homes during fighting in the past four years now live in three sprawling aid camps around the town. While the camp dwellers of Abu Shouk, Zam Zam and Al Salaam find their wells have dried up, and wait for their food deliveries, the long-term town residents are making heaps of money running shops selling olive oil, Camembert (fabrique en France) and jars of sour cherries to the expats working for the African Union/United Nations/aid agencies. I’ll be checking out the pizza restaurant later.

Somehow I’m pleased that some of the money arriving here from overseas will be sucked into the local economy. But house prices are already rocketing as the town prepares for the arrival of a chunk of the hybrid force that is being sent to Darfur, and things seem to be getting out of hand. Locals are going to find it difficult to afford a place in their own town soon.


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