Friday, January 02, 2009

Darfur Enmeshed Within Sudan’s Broadening National Crisis

By: Eric Reeves

As Darfur’s humanitarian crisis deepens, potential intra-national conflict reveals the broader failures of the National Islamic Front regime---and the ultimate threats to international humanitarian and development assistance throughout the country

With dismaying predictability, the continuing catastrophe in Darfur commands less and less news attention, largely because it has settled into a grim “genocide by attrition,” defined not so much by massive atrocities---although these continue to occur---as by relentless, if undramatic, human suffering and destruction consequent upon the Khartoum regime’s deliberate exacerbating of insecurity confronting civilians and aid workers. Most of the region has only a tenuous and fitful humanitarian presence, and many distressed populations are completely beyond reach (see UN access map at Darfur’s visibility has diminished not only because the observational presence of humanitarian workers is much reduced (even as their fear of speaking out has increased), but because the Khartoum regime has imposed severe restrictions on journalists seeking access to Darfur.

As the conflict enters its seventh year, with no end in sight, the risk is that it will become perceived as a chronic problem rather than an acute threat to the lives of millions of conflict-affected Darfuris. This number has now reached a staggering 4.7 million civilians according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 33, representing conditions as of October 1, 2008 [hereafter DHP 33] at )---three quarters of Darfur’s pre-war population. Conditions for these people vary tremendously, but at least 3 million depend upon international aid for all or some of their food. And yet because of insecurity, the UN’s World Food Program can provide Darfuris with only 70 percent of the minimum daily human food requirements. Malnutrition is again on the rise, and recent data from West Darfur reveal that Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) has reached the emergency threshold (and this comes following the fall harvests, an extremely ominous development). Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), affecting primarily children under five, is approaching 3 percent, portending significant mortality. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

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