Two million Darfur refugees face food ration cut as aid cash runs out
|The Daily Telegraph, 29 Avril 2006|
The suffering of at least two million refugees in Darfur worsened still further yesterday when the United Nations said their food rations will be halved.
The UN's World Food Programme explained that a 50 per cent cut was necessary because donors had failed to provide enough money.
"This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever made," said James Morris, director of the WFP. "Haven't the people of Darfur suffered enough?"
More than two million refugees inhabiting squalid camps scattered across Darfur depend on the WFP. In Sudan, where the south is recovering from decades of civil war, the WFP feeds 6.1 million people.
This costs about £440 million. But donors have provided only about one third of this sum for 2006. America and Britain are the two most generous bilateral donors. Aside from Libya, no Arab state has contributed anything, despite windfall gains from high oil prices and Sudan's membership of the Arab League.
The WFP's only option was, said Mr Morris, to reduce the daily ration from 2,100 calories to 1,050 per person. The cut will take effect from next month.
Aid workers in Sudan had managed to reduce the severe malnutrition rate in Darfur to below the emergency level of 15 per cent.
But this key indicator is creeping upwards again, especially in Southern Darfur province, where Khartoum's Arab-dominated regime has launched a new offensive against black African rebels.
Some 300,000 people have died in Darfur since the outbreak of war three years ago. Including 200,000 refugees in neighbouring Chad, at least 2.2 million people have been forced from their homes.