Daily Darfur

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Daily Darfur

The World Food Program says Sudan is facing a food emergency
WFP's Emergency Operation in southern and eastern Sudan has so far received only $22 million, leaving a shortage of more than 92 percent, or $279 million. Stocks carried over from 2004 which are currently being distributed will run out by April, precisely when food distributions normally would be scaling up to meet food requirements in the hungry season, which runs from May and June to August or September, said the agency.

This emergency operation targets 3.2 million people in Sudan outside Darfur. WFP has urged donors to pledge funds to the food aid operations as soon as possible to allow the purchase and delivery of food to people for the crucial hunger season. It takes a minimum of four months for a donation to become food on a table in a poor household.

WFP has pledges for about 54 percent of the food it needs in Darfur this year, but only for about 10 percent of the food it estimates will be needed in southern Sudan. If there are no increases in food donations, WFP could run out of food at the end of March for the southern, eastern and central regions of Sudan. If fresh commitments do not come in for Darfur, the food could finish this summer.
UN emergency relief co-ordinator Jan Egeland says famine is looming in Darfur and that many will die if the UN does not act soon to stop the violence
"Too often the world sends us the Band-Aid, and the world believes that we keep people alive and then they don't have to take a political and security action," Mr Egeland told a news briefing.
The BBC has a good analysis piece on the inability to accurately determine just how many people have died in Darfur
Nobody knows how many people have died during the two-year conflict in Sudan's western Darfur region.

But the widely quoted United Nations figure of 70,000 is clearly wrong, because it was based on a study that does not include those killed in the violence and just covers a six-month period.

The UN says that more than two million of the estimated six million population have fled their homes, but the organisation is reluctant to suggest how many might have died in total.

Some analysts are estimating that the true death toll could be four or five times higher than the 70,000 figure.
Finally, the Associated Press has this article on how many in Africa look to the US as a savior
For many of the young people who take to the streets in protest in Lome and other blighted, overlooked capitals across Africa, only one distant power seems great enough to defeat the local forces of tyranny: the U.S. military.


That was evident amid the tear gas and riots in the former French colony of Togo, when thousands protested against the military's appointment of Faure Gnassingbe as president. Young people, many in American-branded jeans and baseball caps, begged Western journalists to send the message that they wanted the U.S. Marines to come in stop a new dictatorship from blossoming.


In Ivory Coast, where pro-government mobs attacked French families last year and clashed with French peacekeepers, any foreigner could win immunity and cheers simply by producing an American flag - or even a red-white-and-blue car air-freshener. Demonstrators waved posters appealing to Bush for help.

The French, whose soldiers, traders and technocrats are still deeply engaged in West Africa, get the blame for much that goes wrong here. The United States keeps a much lower profile. French criticism of the Iraq invasion only adds to Washington's luster. So while the educated classes of Africa debate the rights and wrongs of U.S. policy, at street level Americans are often seen as knights in armor who would surely ride to the rescue if only they knew how bad things were.

As U.S. troops rolled into Baghdad in 2003, many people of eastern Congo, 3,000 miles away, were being slaughtered in ethnic massacres. Over and over, frightened Congolese were heard demanding American intervention.

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