Friday, October 22, 2004

UN says security worsening for Darfur aid workers

The United Nations says that humanitarian efforts in Sudan's troubled Darfur region were being undercut by worsening security in the area.

"We're exceeding many of the goals we set ourselves two months ago. However the goalpost has been put miles ahead of us because so many more people have been affected," said Jan Egeland, the UN's emergency relief coordinator.

"We thought we would need to feed a million people by now - we have to feed two million," he told reporters at UN headquarters in New York.

An estimated 70,000 people have died and around 1.4 million have been displaced in Darfur after what UN officials have called a scorched-earth campaign of ethnic cleansing against the region's black African population.

The UN Security Council and secretary-general Kofi Annan have been pressing the Arab-led Khartoum government to disarm the Arab militias behind the bloodshed and to make it easier for humanitarian workers to reach the region's needy.

But Mr Egeland said security for aid workers in the area was now worse than earlier in the year, when the Darfur crisis first came into the international spotlight.

"We feel very alone in Darfur at the moment," Mr Egeland said.

"The security situation is deteriorating for us. Colleagues have been killed, colleagues have been harassed, colleagues have been kidnapped."

He stressed the importance of quickly deploying the promised troops and monitors from the African Union, who have been held up by a lack of funding from international donors.

Earlier on Thursday, the African Union (AU) announced it would multiply its truce force in Darfur sevenfold, an announcement welcomed by UN chief Annan.

"This AU mission is crucial to enhancing security for the civilian population and for the effective provision of much-needed humanitarian assistance," Annan's spokesman said in a statement.

"In the light of the growing insecurity in Darfur, the secretary general urges the AU to deploy this force speedily," the statement said.

By In Solidarity 22 October 04


Strife-torn Somalia elects new President
The Parliament of Somalia has elected the country's new President, but it had to do so in Nairobi, the capital of neighbouring Kenya.

Darfur death rates 'six times higher' than normal!!!!!!
As many as 10,000 displaced people could be dying each month in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region - six times higher than normal mortality rates - a World Health Organisation study shows.

Sudan urged to allow international peacekeepers in Darfur
The United Nations is urging Sudan to allow international peacekeepers to restore order in the troubled Darfur region. The Sudanese Government is under pressure to deal with the humanitarian and security crisis in the western Darfur region.

Washington tightens the screws on Sudan
Sudan's rebel forces are on the offensive and are reported to have seized large areas in the eastern part of the country. Their success may be due in part to covert backing from the United States government, which has its own reasons for interfering.

UN warns of worsening conditions in Darfur
The United Nations' World Food Program (WFP) says conditions are worsening in Sudan's western Darfur region. The WFP says disease and hunger are threatening lives. It is trying to deliver food to some of the more than 1 million people who have been displaced by fighting but officials say disease and heavy rains are adding to the difficulties. The number of hepatitis cases has doubled in the past month.

Sudan talks end in deadlock
Darfur rebels and the Sudanese Government have ended peace talks in Nigeria in a deadlock on how to address what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Top UN official concerned about 'lack of progress' in Darfur
The top UN official in Sudan has expressed concern about a "lack of progress on the ground" in reining in marauding Arab militias in Sudan's western Darfur region, the United Nations said.

Kenya faces hunger crisis
The United Nations is appealing for help for up to 2 million people facing hunger in Kenya. The Government in Nairobi has declared the food crisis a national disaster. Food stocks are running low and erratic rains have left crops stunted.

Sudan launches fresh helicopter attacks in Darfur: UN
Sudan has carried out fresh helicopter attacks in Darfur, worsening an already desperate humanitarian situation, while Arab militia targeted refugees trying to escape the conflict, the United Nations said.

African Union may send 2,000 troops to Darfur
The African Union (AU) may boost the number of troops deployed to Sudan's troubled Darfur region to 2,000, subject to the move gaining approval at a meeting of its members, a spokesman said.

Sudan rejects UN resolution deadline
Sudan has condemned a 30 day deadline set by the United Nations Security Council for action on Darfur, but has said it would implement a 90 day program as agreed earlier with UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.

African Union considers Sudan peacekeeping mission
Intervention considered: The African Union says the Sudanese Government has failed to stop the bloodshed.

Annan urges more aid for Sudan
UN secretary-general Kofi Annan is pressing governments for more aid for the troubled Darfur region, as the Security Council considers threatening the Sudanese Government with sanctions over its role in the humanitarian crisis in the region.

Sudan vows to resist Darfur intervention
A crowd of boys welcomes the arrival of a convoy of Red Cross trucks carrying food and supplies to a camp between Chad and Sudan.

Annan, African leaders to hold Sudan talks
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan will hold talks with Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and other African leaders on peace initiatives in Sudan and Ivory Coast on Thursday, a Nigerian spokeswoman said.

Sudan warns against foreign intervention
Sudan has warned it will use force against any attempt at outside military intervention in the crisis-torn Darfur region, while rebels called for the quick arrival of foreign troops.

Sudanese refugees flood into Chad
Aid agencies in Chad are bracing for the arrival of more refugees from Sudan's devastated Darfur region. The United Nations estimates that up to 200,000 refugees have already crossed into Chad from Sudan and fears that as many again are on their way.

US threatens Sudan with UN sanctions
The United States has circulated a United Nations resolution threatening sanctions against the Sudan government if Khartoum did not prosecute Arab militia leaders in the western Darfur region.

UN sanctions for Sudan 'unlikely'
United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan says Sudan has made little progress in curbing marauding militias in the Darfur region but diplomats said sanctions against Khartoum were unlikely.

Sudan rejects human rights report on Darfur
The Sudanese government has slammed a report by Human Rights Watch over the strife-torn western region of Darfur and accused the organisation of attempting to provoke the UN Security Council into imposing sanctions against the country.

African Union tries to revive failed Darfur talks
The African Union (AU) says it has made fresh contact with the government of Sudan and Darfur rebels in an effort to revive peace talks that broke down over the weekend.

Health catastrophe looms in Sudan: UN
A malnourished Sudanese refugee child lies at a feeding centre in Iriba Town in Chad. The World Health Organisation has warned a major health catastrophe could erupt in western Sudan's Darfur region if the needed funds, personnel and supplies were not made available.

Sudan decrees end to relief restrictions
The Sudanese Government, under international pressure to help displaced people in the western region of Darfur, has ordered an end to restrictions on the movement of relief organisations and imports of relief supplies.

Sudan urged to take urgent action to protect refugees
The UN is urging the Sudanese Government to take urgent action to protect more than 1 million refugees.

Terrorism obscuring world crises, Sir William says
The former governor-general, Sir William Deane, has advised Australians not to lose perspective about international crises during the ongoing focus on terrorism.