Friday, January 28, 2005


Don't Forget Darfur

Darfur is still a troubled region, and once again, threatens to sink out of the public view even while thousands are suffering. Relief Web has this story:

A senior United Nations humanitarian official today expressed his serious concerns following reports that about 100 people were killed or injured when Sudanese Government airplanes bombed a village in the northern section of the country's war-scarred Darfur region.

Kevin M. Kennedy, Director of the Coordination and Response Division of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), issued a statement saying UN agencies are struggling to reach and assist the thousands of people who have been displaced by the latest wave of violence to hit Darfur.

"This is the latest of several serious ceasefire violations in recent days that are having a devastating effect on civilians, and severely disrupt our relief operations," he said.

UN officials in Sudan said African Union (AU) reports indicated that the Sudanese air force bombed the village of Rahad Kabolong in North Darfur state, with unconfirmed reports giving a casualty count of about 100. UN humanitarian agencies have declared the location around Rahad Kabolong to be a "no-go" area for their staff until further notice, and the AU is investigating the bombing raid.

The area north of the town of Sirba in West Darfur state has also remained off-limits to UN staff since late last week because of violent clashes there.

Sudan Watch tells us about the troubles and shortfalls of goods in the area:

Across Darfur, UN human rights monitors are expressing concerns about the treatment of victims of human rights abuses.

Despite representations from WHO officials, victims are still being forced to pay fees to receive hospital treatment in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur.

Jan Egeland, the UNs most senior humanitarian official warned the Security Council today that Darfur's perilous security conditions are hampering UN aid agencies' efforts to feed and assist many of the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Mr Egeland said the World Food Programme reached 1.5 million people in Darfur in December - "a significant achievement, but still 500,000 less than the target." So far this month the agency has reached about 900,000 IDPs, only half of its goal for January.

He said IDPs continue to arrive in temporary camps every week - or in some cases are having to flee those camps and seek shelter elsewhere - because of fresh attacks on towns, villages and camps. The situation is considered worst, he added, in South Darfur and West Darfur states.

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