Killings, Lack of Access Mark Bad Aid Month
Killings And Lack of Access Mark One of the Worst Months Ever, Says UN Aid Chief
New York, Aug 10 2006 6:00PM
Increased killings of aid workers worldwide and lack of humanitarian access to those people most in need, especially in conflict areas like Lebanon, Darfur and Sri Lanka, have made the past month one of the “worst ever,” the top United Nations emergency official said today.
Dozens of humanitarian field workers have lost their lives in the last month, including the execution-style killings this week of workers from French organization Action against Hunger in Sri Lanka and the deaths of more aid workers in the last two weeks in the strife-torn Darfur region of Sudan than in the preceding two years.
“This last month has been one of the worst ever in terms of providing assistance to vulnerable populations worldwide and safety and security to humanitarian workers in the field,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland told reporters in Geneva.
Highlighting the deaths of aid workers in Lebanon, he said it was one of the worst places in the world in terms of getting aid to those most in need, and added there was also a record low access for humanitarian workers to Darfur.
"The situation in Darfur was going from really bad to catastrophic," he said, adding the number of violent clashes in the first half of 2006 was twice the amount of the first half of last year.
On the situation in Gaza, he told reporters that there were still major problems in terms of lack of water and electricity and deteriorating humanitarian conditions overall.