Sunday, April 06, 2008

Humanitarian Conditions in Darfur, Two Months Before the Rainy Season

This overview attempts to bring together the most substantial data and reports about the nature and scale of the current humanitarian crisis in Darfur, and to put this information within the context of the immensely threatening environment facing aid workers throughout the region. It draws on a range of materials, including the most recent UN Darfur Humanitarian Profile (No. 30, reflecting conditions as of January 1, 2008). The sources for data, surveys, and anecdotal information are diverse, both on the ground in Darfur and within the international humanitarian community. Much information was provided exclusively on a confidential basis; non-confidential information comes chiefly from reports in the public domain, or public interviews by humanitarian officials.

It must be emphasized that there is a highly significant gap in the humanitarian data available concerning the scale of malnutrition in Darfur. Critical data for Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) and other malnutrition indicators (e.g., Mid-upper Arm Circumference [MUAC]) are simply not available, even on a confidential basis. Although some individual humanitarian workers and organizations were willing to provide anecdotal information, on a highly confidential basis, this is clearly inadequate. The reason consistently given for this extraordinary lacuna in humanitarian indicators was the refusal of Khartoum’s “Humanitarian Aid Commission” (HAC) to permit either the gathering or dissemination of data bearing on malnutrition. This highly consequential decision, made by a bureaucratic extension of the very regime that has done so much to engineer the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, deserves much greater highlighting. Read more >>>>>>>>

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