World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Theft Threatens Ability To Feed Millions In Dafur

Attacks And Theft Seriously Threaten UN Ability To Feed Millions In Sudan’s Darfur

Shootings, attacks on drivers and thefts of contracted trucks carrying critically needed food aid in Sudan’s war-ravaged western Darfur region are seriously threatening the ability of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to assist millions of people at a time when needs are increasing daily, the agency said today.

“The security situation is so bad that many drivers are now refusing to move through sections of the road corridors to the three Darfur states,” WFP country director Ramiro Lopes da Silva said of the region, where fighting between the Government, allied militias and rebels has killed tens of thousands of people and driven nearly 2 million from their homes in the past two years.

“These attacks are completely unconscionable. They create a climate of fear that together with truck seizures pose a real threat to our ability to deliver food,” he added of the banditry which has also affected other humanitarian organizations.

He cited several cases. A driver of a WFP-contracted truck was shot dead in a raid in January. Drivers have been taken hostage and two are still missing. This month alone, a driver was shot and wounded, another had his hands broken and others were severely beaten. A total of 13 WFP-contracted trucks are still missing after a string of raids; eight of these are known to be held by the rebel Sudan Liberation Army (SLA).

But WFP is pushing ahead with deliveries in a bid to reach the rising numbers of people in need and to preposition supplies before the rainy season cuts off access to many areas. Some 50,000 tons of food were moved this month alone.

It is estimated that a monthly average of 2.3 million people will need food aid in Darfur this year, rising to 2.8 million during the rainy season months. There are concerns that a poor harvest in 2004 and rising prices for basic commodities will push numbers even higher. In February, WFP fed 1.6 million people in Darfur, the highest monthly total since its emergency operation began in April 2004.

WFP-contracted trucks are vital to achieving such targets. Though accustomed to a certain degree of risk in the region, drivers halted a 37-truck convoy in Ed-Daien last week because it was just too dangerous to leave.

WFP has protested about the attacks in the strongest terms, through the African Union, which has a monitoring force in the region and Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative, Jan Pronk, who has raised the issue with SLA representatives.

“These attacks must stop, and the trucks must be returned – it is as simple as that,” Mr. Lopes da Silva said.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news