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  • Writer's pictureSudan Witness

Fire damage to the commercial area of Zamzam IDP camp

Updated: 6 days ago

  • CIR verified that fires destroyed the northern section of the market area of Zamzam, a camp for internally displaced persons (IDP) in North Darfur.

  • CIR analysed satellite imagery and footage showing the aftermath of the blaze and chronolocated the fires to 28 February 2024. 

  • Sudan Witness was unable to verify the cause of the incident. Darfur24 and Altabiya News reported that the cause of the fires was not known.

لقراءة المقال بالعربية

Zamzam IDP camp fires - أضرار الحرائق في المنطقة التجارية في مخيم زمزم للنازحين
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Figure 1: Map of Zamzam IDP camp, North Darfur

Fires destroyed part of the northern section of the market area of the Zamzam IDP camp, North Darfur, on 28 February 2024. Sudan Witness was able to confirm that the northern part of the market was severely damaged by fires based on analysis of Planet satellite imagery (figure 2).

Figure 2: Satellite imagery showing fire damage to the commercial area of Zamzam IDP camp. Credit: Planet Labs PBC / Annotation by CIR

Sudan Witness’s analysis was corroborated by a video posted to Facebook on a personal account on 28 February 2023, which shows destroyed and remains of stalls in a still smouldering market area. The video was geolocated to the northern section of the market (figure 3), confirming fire damage from the ground. Altabiya News reported that 200 shops were destroyed, and a large number of livestock killed in the fire. Sudan Witness assessed that Altabiya’s reported figure of 200 shops was more plausible than the 1500 shops claimed by other media outlets such as Darfur24, considering the extent of the visible damage seen in imagery posted to social media, and the burn marks in satellite imagery.

Figure 3: Geolocation of a panorama created from a video of the aftermath of fires in the commercial area of Zamzam IDP camp. Source: Facebook

Sudan Witness has not seen other fires in IDP camps in February 2024, but an earlier phase of the war saw a trend of fires in IDP camps. A commercial area part of the Abu Shouk IDP camp, located only 20 kilometres from Zamzam, in El Fasher, North Darfur, was heavily damaged by fires on 19 April 2023. Multiple other markets and IDP camps have seen fires since the outbreak of conflict in April 2023.

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