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U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said about 50,000 people are still believed to be in Kalma camp in South Darfur, and several thousand have taken refuge outside a community police center run by the joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force.

“We are concerned about the shortages of food and fuel. Deliveries have stopped, and fuel for water pumps has run out. And so, obviously, sanitation is a major concern, because it’s the middle of the rainy season,” Mr. Nesirky said.

“The government must resume full humanitarian access to Kalma and to surrounding areas where displaced people have fled,” he said.

The Save Darfur Coalition called the Sudanese government’s behavior “atrocious” and said its denial of humanitarian aid and threat to relocate the Kalma camp was leaving families even more vulnerable to hunger and disease.

The coalition urged the U.S. and the international community to pressure the government to allow immediate, unimpeded access for U.N. agencies and humanitarian groups.

SOUTH AFRICA

Government, unions plan deadline strike talks

JOHANNESBURG | South African unions representing more than 1 million civil servants and the government plan wage talks on Thursday, hours before a union deadline to reach a deal that would avert a prolonged strike.

“We are optimistic that the government will come back to us with a significant offer. Our members want to avoid protracted strike action,” said Sizwe Pamla, a spokesman for the public-sector union NEHAWU, said on Wednesday.

The group is a part of the country’s largest umbrella labor group, COSATU.

COSATU unions and other civil service labor groups staged a one-day strike on Tuesday, seeking an 8.6 percent pay rise — twice the current rate of inflation — and a 1,000 rand ($138) monthly housing allowance.

They threatened a prolonged strike they said would bring the government to a halt unless a deal is reached by Thursday.

The action increased pressure on President Jacob Zuma’s government to prevent a repeat of a massive public-sector strike three years ago that dented the economy and support for his predecessor, analysts said.

The government has offered 7 percent and 630 rand for housing, but analysts say it is likely to raise its offer rather than risk a strike just before a policy-setting meeting next month of the ruling African National Congress.

From wire dispatches and staff reports