23 March 2009
Leaders at Kalma displacement camp in southern Darfur refuse aid from both international and government agencies, demanding that Sudan first allow 13 expelled foreign aid groups back. (...) The self-imposed aid embargo at Kalma camp, which includes the monthly food distribution, is heightening concerns about the welfare of the 88,000 residents. The World Food Program said Kalma leaders Thursday refused a grain delivery. The U.N. food agency faced similar resistance a week earlier.
23 March 2009
The expulsion of organizations that provided clean water, medical treatment, food and shelter for millions of Sudanese in the war-racked region of Darfur has thrown the world’s largest aid operation into disarray, putting the lives of millions of displaced people at risk. The Sudanese government has pledged that local aid groups and government agencies will fill the gap, and that assistance from the World Food Program and other United Nations agencies still operating in Darfur will help avert an immediate crisis of widespread water and food shortages.
17 March 2009
Zam Zam Camp, Sudan [...] International aid groups and the United Nations are scrambling to fill the gaps left by the expulsion of the 13 foreign aid groups, including several of the largest providers of food, clean water, education and healthcare to Darfur's displacement camps. Most are cautiously optimistic that they can avert the near-term catastrophe that would come with the lack of essentials such as food and water. The World Food Program has begun an emergency distribution of a two-month supply to the most affected areas. UNICEF is focusing on delivering extra fuel to run about three dozen crucial water stations. [...] But [...] people are already falling through the cracks, particularly in the areas of healthcare and disease prevention.
16 March 2009
The kidnapping of three Western aid workers in Sudan's Darfur region marks a significant escalation of insecurity for relief agencies deployed in the conflict-ridden area. Canadian nurse Laura Archer, Italian doctor Mauro D'Ascanio, and French coordinator Raphaël Meunier, as well as their Sudanese watchman Sharif Mohamadin, all working for Médecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders, were safely released Saturday by unknown gunmen after three days in captivity. A rebel leader and analysts say the kidnapping and recent expulsion of 13 aid groups are part of a government strategy to scare away remaining aid workers and break up camps housing Sudanese civilians who have fled the war.
14 March 2009
Three foreign aid workers abducted in the troubled Sudanese region of Darfur three days ago have been released. The Medecins Sans Frontieres staff - a French administrator, a Canadian nurse and an Italian doctor - were safely back in the Sudanese capital Khartoum. They were freed on Saturday along with a Sudanese national, having been abducted at gunpoint on Wednesday. "We are incredibly relieved that our colleagues are safe," said Christopher Stokes, a senior MSF official.
12 March 2009
[...] President Omar al-Bashir's response to his indictment last week by the International Criminal Court has certainly been defiant: the immediate expulsion of nearly half the aid workers providing food, medicine and shelter to millions of victims of the 6-year-old war in the Darfur region. Many observers fear the small hopes for compromise have grown even smaller. The first international attempt to prosecute a sitting head of state is likely to turn into a long standoff, with the people of Darfur suffering the most.
12 March 2009
Several relief organisations from Arab and Asian countries have applied to work in the western Sudanese Darfur region to replace agencies expelled or stopped from working there, a senior official said. "We have received many applications from Arab and Asian countries," Sudanese State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Ahmed Haroun, said. "They want to go to Darfur." The applicants include the Red Crescent Societies of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates. Several doctors and medical supplies were also being sent to Darfur. [...] The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said it had lost 35 percent of its food distribution capacity through the expulsion of four of its implementing partners - Save the Children USA, Action Against Hunger, Solidarités and Care International. "WFP does not have the capacity to fill this gap," said spokeswoman Emilia Casella. "Unless the NGOs are allowed to resume their activities, people are going to go hungry."
12 March 2009
Three aid workers from the Belgian office of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) have been kidnapped in Sudan's North Darfur region, the medical organisation has said. A Canadian nurse, an Italian doctor and a French co-ordinator were among five staff members seized on Wednesday night by a group of armed men in Saraf Umra, MSF said on Thursday. [...] The attack on the Belgian MSF branch comes days after the French and Dutch contingents of the aid organisation were kicked out of Darfur. They were among 13 aid groups order to leave Sudan after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against Omar al-Bashir, Sudan's president, for alleged war crimes in Darfur. [...] The World Food Programme (WFP) says its four of its partner relief agencies expelled from Darfur were looking after 35 per cent of food distribution to the region.
12 March 2009
Given the history of the Sudanese government’s brutal treatment of the population of Darfur, some adverse reaction to last week’s indictment of President Omar al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC) was expected—but nothing quite as bad as what happened. A dozen major international aid agencies and a couple of local ones were immediately expelled from Darfur, and many from the country altogether. [...] By some estimates, the NGOs that have been kicked out contributed 80% of the workers who distributed the World Food Programme’s aid in Darfur—the people, that is, who actually gave the food to the refugees in the camps.
12 March 2009
A week after Sudan kicked out 13 major foreign aid agencies, the world's biggest humanitarian relief effort has been plunged into chaos as organisations negotiate a nightmare of red tape and intimidation, aid workers say. The expelled agencies now have to find ways to reallocate tens of millions of dollars budgeted for projects they can no longer run, while those organisations allowed to remain in Sudan say they face a momentous struggle to fill the gaps. Aid workers say the Sudanese authorities have seized computers, vehicles, medical records and life-saving drugs, meaning they cannot hand them over to relief groups still on the ground. Some agencies say they have had funds frozen as well. [...] Relief groups fear the expulsions could create a new humanitarian disaster in Sudan. In Darfur alone some 4.7 million people rely on aid. The agencies' departure will leave 1.1 million people there without food, 1.5 million without medical care and more than 1 million without drinking water, the United Nations says. "The very life bridge to the people of Darfur is threatened now ... so this creates a new kind of hell for the people of Darfur," U.N. World Food Programme executive director Josette Sheeran told AlertNet.
- Conflict in Darfur threatens humanitarian assistance in Sudan: WFP Source: Xinhua News Agency
- '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