Now Playing: A subject that I have barley spoke of..... Changes today....
My Fellow Z3 Readers
It is with regret I say that this is my first post on "Darfur" - please forgive me and read this article I copied from ....... "Oxfam"
As the Need in Darfur Grows,
So Does the Difficulty of
16 April 2007
It has been more than four years since conflict first erupted in Darfur, Sudan, and in that time the number of people in need has grown exponentially: About 4 million people now depend on humanitarian assistance. But as their numbers mount, so does the difficulty in reaching them.
Unabated violence has left huge swaths of Darfur inaccessible to aid groups. Carjackings, assaults, robberies—these are the almost daily dangers aid workers now face as tens of thousands of people have continued to flee ongoing attacks. In the first two months of this year, more than 80,000 people found themselves on the run—some for the second, third, and fourth times. With the conflict now spilling over into Chad, violence there has forced the displacement of 120,000 Chadians.
In Darfur alone, more than 2 million people are now crowded into temporary camps or massed on the outskirts of towns where Oxfam is providing clean water, sanitation services, and basic necessities—such as soap and jerry cans—to about 475,000 of them. The agency is offering similar help to an additional 63,000 people in Chad.
But in some places, such as Darfur’s largest camp—Gereida, where 130,000 people now live in limbo, waiting for peace—Oxfam has had to greatly reduce its assistance because of the violence. In December, armed men entered the compounds of Oxfam and other agencies there where they beat an Oxfam staffer, raped a worker at one of those other agencies, and stole 12 vehicles.
Roads have also become increasingly unsafe for travel because of the risk of hijackings. Many times, helicopters are the only way aid workers can reach the larger towns and camps. People in rural areas and smaller villages often get no attention at all since the helicopters do not fly to those areas.
The humanitarian effort in Darfur is now one of the largest in the world, and the initiative has managed to stabilize living conditions in the camps. But there is a growing concern among aid groups that inaccessibility to the camps could derail this progress. Aid workers fear a return to devastating levels of malnutrition and disease they witnessed at the start of the crisis.
Helplessness and frustration permeate the camps, where people are trapped with limited access to education or economic opportunities. The conflict has stretched on for so long that some camps have now taken on a feeling of permanence, with people transforming their temporary shelters into mud brick dwellings. The majority of those in the camps are women and children, many of whom have now spent most of their lives trapped there by the conflict. Inevitably, the impact of the crisis on a whole generation will have long-term consequences for Darfur.
Despite the dangers, Oxfam is committed to remaining in the region to help the people there. It continues to be one of the few agencies working in all three Darfur states. But what people need urgently is protection from violence. The African Union force now in place to provide that has just 7,000 members—not nearly enough to cover the vast region. And increasingly, the AU force itself has become the target of violence, with its members being assaulted, abducted, and killed. Its ranks urgently need strengthening.
More than anything, what’s needed now is increased pressure on everyone involved in the conflict to stop attacking civilians and stop targeting aid workers.