East Darfur State was created by presidential decree in 2012 when it was separated from South Darfur. It borders North and South Darfur, North and South Kordofan, the Abyei region and the northern state of Bahr el Ghazal in South Sudan. The dominant tribes in the state are the Rezeigat, Ma’aliya, Birgid and Zaghawa.
Historically, tribal conflict in East Darfur existed before the start of the Darfur conflict in 2003. The main tribal conflict was between the Ma’aliya and Rezeigat tribes since the 1960s. In addition, conflicts between nomadic herders and sedentary farming communities , usually about land ownership and resource use, were also common. There are two camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), two staging sites for IDPs and two camps for South Sudanese refugees in the state. When war broke out in neighboring South Sudan in mid-December 2013, South Sudanese citizens fled their home country and began arriving in East Darfur, taking refuge in different parts of the state.
Inter-tribal conflicts, protracted displacement, economic crisis, food insecurity, poor basic social services, flash floods and influx of refugees are the main drivers of humanitarian needs. There have been longstanding tensions between different community groups in East Darfur.
Communities often live apart from each other and stereotypes about IDP communities persist, with IDPs and refugees facing discrimination from the host community. In addition, attacks by host community members – often nomadic herding tribes – on IDPs and refugees are common.
The main subsistence activities in the state include agriculture, animal husbandry and trade. About 84% of the state’s population depends on natural resource dependent livelihoods. The population suffers from low social indicators, insufficient access to basic social services and service delivery, and has limited access to labor markets