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Over 1 Million to Go Without Food and Water in Darfur as Aid Groups Expelled

Karen Hirschfeld on March 6, 2009

The consequences are nearly unfathomable.

In the last 48 hours, Sudan has expelled 16 international aid organizations from Darfur.  

The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that, nearly overnight, 1.1 million people will be without food, 1.5 million without medical care and more than one million without drinking water. This could lead to widespread suffering and death within weeks.These humanitarian agencies have been providing the necessities of life to people in Darfur for many years, working in one of the world’s most challenging environments. And they were expelled en masse on the very day that the International Criminal Court released an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir.

Humanitarian assistance is about feeding the hungry, and caring for the sick, and should not be politicized by the host government. As a spokeswoman for one of the expelled organizations said,

There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to it all. None of us ... have any kind of advocacy agenda or any connection to the International Criminal Court. It's really quite a mystery to everyone involved.

Our thoughts are with the people of Darfur and the aid workers who have worked with them. We hope that the Government of Sudan will reverse its decision and allow these groups to stay and provide life-saving assistance to the people of Sudan who need it.

Places: Sudan