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.
26 March 2009
New fighting in the area of south Sudan where the 1983-2005 civil war erupted has left about 750 people dead, with growing insecurity in the wider region hampering aid efforts, United Nations officials said on Wednesday. (...) "We have seen reports of up to 750 dead, that seem to have been caused by cattle rustling," said Geoff Wordley, assistant representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in south Sudan. "We have seen a number of disturbing and alarming events in terms of security in recent weeks," Wordley told AFP. Officials said the situation in Jonglei's Pibor County now appeared to have calmed, but that it had had an impact on the work of relief organisations. "During the disturbances, at least one World Food Programme convoy carrying food aid was attacked and looted near Pibor, and therefore the situation of the delivery of humanitarian aid in that area is also of concern," Wordley added.
26 March 2009
Humanitarian officials have warned that Sudan's pledge to fill the aid gap is unlikely to succeed while supplies of food, medicine and water are under threat. Darfur's main rebel group has urged people to reject all government help. The World Food Program is distributing a two-month ration to 1.1 million displaced people who were served by Care, Solidarites, Action Against Hunger and Save the Children, which have all been expelled. But Rachid Jafaar, a WFP official, warned that this was unsustainable and the organisation could not guarantee that all the people affected, at 140 sites, would receive food.
26 March 2009
The United Nations warned on Tuesday that it would appeal to international donors for extra funds following the expulsion of 3,142 aid agency staff. UN humanitarian affairs coordinator Ameerah Haq predicted the situation in Darfur would deteriorate further over the coming weeks. "By the beginning of May, as the hunger gap approaches, and unless the World Food Program has found partners able to take on the mammoth distribution task, these people will not receive their rations," she said.
- 'Real peace' elusive in Sudan's Darfur 10 years on Source: The Daily Star (Lebanon) / AFP
- Sudan Launches Major Dam to Boost Agricultural Production, Investment Source: The New York Times
- South Sudan's Aid Workers Concerned About Flood of Sudanese Refugees Source: VOA
- Not too late for aid to Sudan war zone: WFP boss Source: AFP
- UN: Sudan Refugees Suffering Without Adequate Aid Source: The New York Times / AP