Hunger in the news

24 April 2009

Nearly two months after Sudan kicked out 13 foreign relief agencies, remaining aid workers are trying to stave off a humanitarian catastrophe in the Darfur region. “There is a potential for a crisis. We're working to make sure there's no major disaster,” said John Holmes, the UN's under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs. (…)The UN World Food Programme is still getting supplies out on an ad hoc basis, through local community leaders.

21 April 2009

In January, Kumba launched an appeal for aid, with a response from humanitarian agencies which she has described as inadequate. "This is not enough any more," Kumba told IRIN. "They [the refugees and IDPs] don't have water. The sanitation is not good." An increase in the number of IDPs and refugees means a strain on the state's social services. "The World Food Programme is delivering food, but they move under fear of attack," Lexton Wani, an official of the Southern Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission based in Western Equatoria , told IRIN. "Sometimes, the food is delivered, but people don't know how to eat it; you're giving someone sorghum, but people don't have grinding mills."

21 April 2009

Nearly two months after 13 major international aid agencies were expelled from Sudan, concerns rise that rebel groups are uniting in preparation for fresh attacks. (..) In some camps, residents have been refusing humanitarian aid, to protest the government's expulsion of the NGOs. Leaders of one of the most volatile camps in Darfur, Kalma, have recently begun re-accepting food distributions, after a three-week deadlock, but resistance remains. "They have made it clear that they do not want any national NGOs [in the camp], because they believe that these NGOs are run by the government and it's one way that the government wants to infiltrate the camp," says Eddie Rowe, head of the World Food Programme in southern Darfur.

21 April 2009

The World Food Program is proposing an "anti-famine mechanism for the 21st century," which combines the lessons it learned over the last half-century of responding to food emergencies with new tools and approaches for tackling chronic hunger, according to Nancy Roman, WFP's director of communications and public policy strategy. Roman, a former executive at the Council on Foreign Relations and journalist, discussed this new framework on a phone interview with Devex. She also talked about WFP's current situation in Darfur, collaboration with telecommunications firms, cellphone fundraising campaigns, and plans to partner with nutrition and food companies.

12 April 2009

[...] Most of western Sudan is flat, dry and almost bare of plant life. Here suddenly are pastures, streams, even forests. Past mango and orange groves lie dozens of small, quiet villages where people go about ordinary, self-sufficient lives in what some call the Switzerland of Sudan. They live in scattered huts with plenty of land. They grow crops on terraced plots carved into the mountain. The World Food Program says the region hasn't needed regular aid distributions since 2006. The people here have rejected overcrowded displacement camps, dependence on foreign aid and the daily threat of banditry and government harassment in favor of a somewhat normal, if isolated and fragile, existence behind "enemy" lines. It's a reminder of what Darfur must have been like before the 6-year-old insurgency engulfed it.

8 April 2009

With her health options limited, one woman in this Darfur refugee camp is considering a risky alternative: a traditional healer who promises his potion of holy water, charcoal and glue, touched by verses of the Quran, can cure her uterus inflammation. It's not a choice 22-year-old Mastoura Hussein would have considered before the Sudanese government threw out some of the biggest aid groups working in war-torn Darfur. The order forced the departure of the doctors she had been seeing at a specialized women's health clinic. The expulsion has raised fears of a humanitarian crisis across Darfur, where several million rely on agencies for food, health care and shelter.

6 April 2009

Picture: AFP Displaced Sudanese people queuing up to receive aid during a distribution by WFP at the Kasab camp near Kutum in northern Darfur] Two foreign workers for Aide Medicale Internationale were kidnapped at gunpoint in Sudan's Darfur region overnight, the French medical aid group said on Sunday. The second kidnapping of Western humanitarian workers in Darfur in less than a month has raised fears for the safety of foreigners in Sudan's violent west.

1 April 2009

President Obama on Monday repeated his request for Sudan to let more than a dozen expelled humanitarian aid groups back into the country and suggested that if it did not, he would “find some mechanism” to get food, water and medicine to the people of Darfur. Mr. Obama did not specify what that mechanism might be, but aides later said he meant increasing help to aid groups remaining in Sudan.

30 March 2009

With moves underway at this week’s Arab League summit in Doha, Qatar to stifle the International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant against Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, government officials and anti-genocide groups around the world are urging nations to abide by court’s directive and try to overturn Sudan’s expulsion of international aid organizations to avert a deeper humanitarian disaster. [...] In addition, Executive Director of Genocide Intervention Network Mark Hanis notes, the United Nations and its associate aid agencies, have been careful to steer a neutral course in their dealings with the Khartoum government.“The UN requires the consent of the host government, so in Sudan, it requires Sudan’s consent to operate inside of the country.The other agencies like UNICEF or World Food Program (WFP) aren’t invading the country of Sudan, so they need the consent to function. So that’s the limitations.As long as Sudan gives them permission, they’re able to operate.When they don’t, then they’re significantly limited in the impact they are able to have,” he noted.

26 March 2009

(...) Sudan ordered the aid agencies out of Darfur after ICC issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir earlier this month over alleged war crimes in Darfur. Sudan, which does not recognise the ICC, rejects the charge. Holmes said that to feed the hungry in Darfur "we need to find some proper partners for the WFP (World Food Programme) if the decision is not reversed". The expulsion of aid groups "seems to us a reckless act", he added.