Humanitarian assistance in Darfur "hanging by a thread" (Eric Reeves & Doctors Without Borders)
Conditions in Darfur and neighboring eastern Chad, which are already overwhelmingly awful, are--incredibly enough--on the verge of taking a dramatic turn for the worse.A more recent report by Eric Reeves, "[Humanitarian] Assistance in Darfur Hanging by a Thread", is an important update.
Despite the blandly disingenuous words of UN officials such as Jan Pronk, and the shameful silence of African Union officials, the catastrophe in Darfur continues to deepen---relentlessly, dangerously, uncontrollably. Malnutrition and mortality are rising rapidly, and growing water shortages will result in the increased use of unsanitary ground water during the current rainy season. [....]Some highlights follow below, but please read the whole thing.
Insecurity has also increased steadily, with a recent spate of deadly attacks on humanitarians that has produced evacuations and suspensions of operations.[....]
The Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) has collapsed with shocking rapidity. [....] [I]t matters little what may have been written into the Darfur Peace Agreement: without credible international guarantees and guarantors, the document is worthless and proves itself more so every day. That the international community has no intention of providing such guarantees and guarantors is also clearer by the day. The current disintegration in Darfur that has left humanitarian assistance “hanging by a thread” is accelerating, and the thread will soon break entirely.
Eric Reeves - "Assistance in Darfur Hanging by a Thread--Doctors Without Borders, July 2006 (July 29, 2006)
Amidst escalating violence and increasing attacks on humanitarian workers, aid to conflict-affected civilians continues to collapse
Despite the blandly disingenuous words of UN officials such as Jan Pronk, and the shameful silence of African Union officials, the catastrophe in
Insecurity has also increased steadily, with a recent spate of deadly attacks on humanitarians that has produced evacuations and suspensions of operations. As Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) notes this week in its “latest operational update”:
“Despite the signing of a peace agreement in early May, violence has escalated. While the government and rebels have clashed and attacks on civilians have continued in certain areas of
As a consequence, over 2 million people in Darfur remain trapped in camps for Internally Displaced Persons, civilians “too scared to return to their homes and continue to live in camps that amount to open-air jails” (MSF update). And the camps themselves are increasingly dangerous, with a growing prevalence of weapons, the presence of rebels soldiers, and deadly incursions into the camps by
At the same time, the Darfur Peace Agreement of May 5, 2006 has collapsed completely, even as Khartoum has made clear that it has no intention of re-starting or re-energizing the peace process: [....]
Even more destructive of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) are the wide-ranging military offensives launched by Khartoum’s regular armed forces and Janjaweed allies in the Jebel Moon area of West Darfur and the KulKul area north of el-Fasher (North Darfur State) [....]
MINNI MINAWI: "JANJAWEED 2"
Although Khartoum’s culpability in this renewed act of war is patent here, the chaotic nature of the fighting and the factionalizing of the combatants needs some clarification, particularly as this factionalized fighting on the part of the Darfuri insurgency movements is now a primary source of insecurity throughout
[WILL HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATIONS ABANDON DARFUR?]
These are just some of the assaults in recent weeks that have targeted or threatened humanitarian workers; there have been many scores of attacks, kidnappings, and hijackings since security began to deteriorate badly last August/September, and a number of aid workers have been killed or wounded. The upshot of such insecurity is that fewer and fewer of those in need can be reached by humanitarian efforts. [....]
2004 was the year of greatest [direct] genocidal violence, directed by
“When the town of Golo in North Darfur state and its surroundings were attacked at the end of January , uprooting 60,000 people who fled to the neighboring mountains, MSF teams were forced to evacuate the town. Since then, MSF has been trying to reach the displaced in the face of numerous attacks on vehicles operated by humanitarian aid agencies, including several of MSF's. In recent weeks, in the three states of
“Beyond the ongoing violence, MSF is facing the possibility of fewer aid agencies operating in
“In April , the World Food Program (WFP) announced that it was halving its food allocations for the displaced because of large funding shortfalls. WFP received increased funds after this announcement, but it is still incapable of providing full food distributions. Other than these food distributions, displaced Darfurians have virtually no resources to ensure their survival. People cannot farm because of the insecurity that reigns outside the camps. At most, they can earn a little money selling firewood gathered in the nearby bush, but even there they risk being attacked.”
“And the toughest months lie ahead. The months of July to October bring both the ‘lean’ period and the rainy season. The first is characterized by limited food in the markets and among families who are still able to farm and would ordinarily be in a position to help their neighbors. The rainy season is traditionally associated with an increase in potentially life-threatening diarrheic illnesses.”
“Over the past year, temporary breakdowns in the food distribution system have resulted in a significant increase in malnutrition. In Mornay [West Darfur], where 75,000 displaced people are housed, the number of admissions for severe malnutrition in the MSF hospital rose from 10 to 20 admissions per month from January to May 2005 and from 80 to 120 admissions per month from July to October . This increase, which coincided with delays in food distributions to the camps, is too great to be the result of seasonal fluctuation.” (Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières, “latest operational update,”
MSF rightly highlights the continuing danger facing women gathering firewood near camps (which, as the areas around the camps are gradually stripped, requires more distant travel). SOAT also reported in its “Human Rights Alert” of
THE DARFUR PEACE AGREEEMENT
The Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) has collapsed with shocking rapidity. No facile comments from the UN’s
The Darfur Peace Agreement was from the beginning without meaningful international guarantors of the security arrangements; the current escalation of fighting could have been, and was, predicted. The implementation of the various provisions of the DPA is failing because
The point here is not so much Pronk’s dismaying and destructive incompetence as it is about the failure of