11 March 2009
[...] In response to the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant which was issued against Bashir on Wednesday, the minister of foreign affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, reiterated the South African position: “We don’t condone impugnity but South Africa supported the decision of the African Union to defer the issuing of the warrant of arrest against President Al-Bashir by a year to give the peace processes in the Sudan a chance. [...] It follows that South Africa is unlikely to worry too much about the fact that in response to the arrest warrant Bashir promptly expelled aid groups on which more than one million refugees in Darfuri camps depend directly for their basic livelihood. The head of the UN World Food Programme, Josette Sheeran, said: “This is a whole new kind of hell for the people of Darfur . With the loss of these NGOs, 1.1 million people will be without food aid, 1.1 million will be without healthcare, and over one million will be without potable water.” Bashir’s strategy seems obvious. If the humanitarian crisis escalates enough then the UN security council might force the year’s delay in court proceedings he and the African Union are gunning for.
11 March 2009
The United Nations relies so heavily on outside groups to deliver aid in Darfur that Sudan's expulsion of 16 non-governmental organisations has paralysed as much as half of its programmes, officials said on Tuesday. While the World Food Programme, World Health Organisation and UNICEF were not among those ordered out after a Hague court issued a war crimes warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the U.N. agencies lost a lot of manpower when their aid partners were shut down last week. [...] Four of the shuttered NGOs -- CARE International, Save the Children U.S., Action Contre La Faim and Solidarites -- had distributed a third of the World Food Programme's aid in Darfur, regularly reaching 1.1 million people in 130 locations. "The WFP and other humanitarian agencies do not have the capacity to fill such a large gap," spokeswoman Emilia Casella told reporters. "Unless NGOs can operate normally, people will go hungry, thirsty, and growing numbers of sick and malnourished will go untreated."
10 March 2009
China urged the United Nations on Tuesday to consult with the Sudanese government to stem a humanitarian crisis after the African nation expelled 13 aid groups that were helping millions in the conflict-wracked Darfur region. Sudan kicked out more than half of the aid workers in Darfur after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. Khartoum accused the aid groups of cooperating with the Netherlands-based ICC. The World Food Program says some 1.1 million of the 2-3 million people it feeds in Sudan each month are dependent on deliveries from the groups that have been expelled
10 March 2009
U.N. agencies and other organizations allowed to remain in Darfur don't have the resources to fully replace the activities of 13 expelled aid groups who were helping millions in the conflict-wracked region, the U.N.'s humanitarian chief said. The United Nations will try to fill life-threatening gaps left by Sudan's expulsion of more than half the aid workers from Darfur, John Holmes, the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said Monday. [...] Assets of international NGOs have been confiscated including vehicles and computers, vital data for assistance to beneficiaries and food and non-food items, he said. There also have been cases of intimidation by some Sudanese officials toward NGO staff facing expulsion, he said. Holmes said one or two warehouses containing food from the U.N. World Food Program which was going to be distributed by NGOs were also quickly seized by local Sudanese authorities. "We have been assured that these assets will be returned to us quickly," he said.
10 March 2009
The United Nations is urging the government of Sudan to reverse its decision to expel 13 leading international aid organizations from Darfur and to terminate the work of three national agencies in that conflict-ridden province. U.N. agencies say the decision will have devastating consequences for hundreds of thousands of people. [...] The World Food Program says four international NGOs distribute 35 percent of its food aid to more than one million people in Darfur. They also have been providing food to 5,500 malnourished children and mothers in need of supplementary and therapeutic feeding. WFP spokeswoman Emilia Casella says these agencies have been distributing food in 130 locations in Darfur. She says the World Food Program is unable, by itself, to fill this huge gap. "So, unless NGOs can operate normally, people will go hungry, thirsty and growing numbers of sick and malnourished will go untreated," she said. "We are joining with our other sister agencies and partners urging the government of Sudan to rescind its decision in view of the potential grave impact on millions of vulnerable people in Darfur and elsewhere in northern Sudan."
10 March 2009
The U.N. and Sudan will send three joint missions to assess critical humanitarian needs after Khartoum expelled 13 non-governmental organizations, a U.N. official said Tuesday. "The United Nations and the Sudanese government agreed on 8 March that three joint U.N.-government teams composed of experts from both sides will visit Darfur to conduct an assessment of critical short-term needs," said Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the U.N. bureau for coordination of humanitarian affairs, or OCHA. She said the teams would look at four areas: food, nutrition, water and emergency shelter. [...] According to the World Food Program, four of its partner NGOs - Action Against Hunger, Save the Children USA, Solidarites and Care International which were expelled, took care of 35% of its food distribution in Darfur. "The WFP does not have the capacity to fill this gap," said Emilia Casella, the agency's spokeswoman. "Unless the NGOs are allowed to resume their activities, people are going to go hungry," said Casella.
9 March 2009
The first gauntlet thrown at President Obama didn’t come from Iran, Russia or China. Rather, it came from Sudan, in its decision to expel aid groups that are a lifeline keeping more than a million people alive in Darfur. [...] More than one million people depend directly on the expelled aid groups for health care, food and water. I’ve been in these camps, so let me offer an educated guess about what will unfold if this expulsion stands. The biggest immediate threat isn’t starvation, because that takes time. Rather, the first crises will be disease and water shortages, particularly in West Darfur. [...] “This is a whole new kind of hell for the people of Darfur,” Josette Sheeran, the head of the United Nations World Food Program, told me. “The life bridge for more than a million people has just been dismantled.
9 March 2009
The Sudanese government lacks sufficient capacity to do the work of the aid groups it has ordered out of the country's war-ravaged Darfur region, the top U.N. humanitarian affairs official said on Monday. [...] Sudan's U.N. Ambassador Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem on Friday told reporters that the Sudanese government would have no problem filling in any gaps in aid distribution created by the expulsion of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs). But U.N. humanitarian affairs chief John Holmes told reporters on Monday that this was not the case. [...] Holmes added that U.N. and NGO staff have faced harassment at the hands of Sudanese security forces, including "intimidatory behavior." He added that U.N. officials had complained about this to the government. "Assets of international NGOs have been confiscated, including in some cases United Nations assets I have to say, things like vehicles and computers, vital data for assistance to beneficiaries, ... food and non-food items," he said. Holmes said there were one or two warehouses containing World Food Program food seized by local authorities, which he hoped would be returned.
7 March 2009
South Sudan's ruling party urged the Khartoum government on Saturday to reverse its decision to expel aid agencies that it had accused of passing information to war crimes prosecutors. Khartoum shut down 13 foreign and three local aid groups this week after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to face charges of war crimes in Darfur. Aid groups deny the allegation. Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) spokesman Yien Matthew said the expulsion would have a devastating impact on tens of thousands of displaced Darfuris. [...] U.N. agencies rely on aid groups to deliver much of their food aid and other assistance to people on the ground, so the expulsions will also hit programmes run by the World Food Programme and other bodies. The expulsions did not affect agencies in southern Sudan.
7 March 2009
Sudan's president defied calls to arrest him for war crimes on Saturday, defending his decision to expel aid groups and dancing in front of crowds wearing traditional feathered head dress. [...] Bashir defended his decision to shut down 13 foreign and three local aid groups over accusations that they passed information to the court's prosecutors. Aid groups deny working with the court. "These humanitarian organizations are just thieves," he said, referring to the aid groups. "They take 99 percent of the money and spend just 1 percent on the ground." [...] U.N. agencies rely on aid groups to deliver much of their food aid and other assistance to people on the ground, so the expulsions will also hit programs run by the World Food Program and other bodies. The expulsions did not affect agencies in southern Sudan.
- 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