Saturday, December 02, 2006

Darfur: Food fails to reach those in need

Fri Dec 1, 2:57 PM ET
Food aid from the international community is not reaching a tenth of the people in Darfur who need it because violence still plagues the region and hampers relief efforts, a UN official said.
Daly Belgasmi, Darfur liaison officer for the World Food Programme (WFP), said that 2.9 million inhabitants had been targeted to receive food aid by the end of October, while some 270,000 others remained out of the agency's reach in the strife-torn part of western Sudan due to population displacement and general insecurity which hampered aid deliveries.
"The security situation remains volatile and unpredictable," he told journalists. "One sector accessible today becomes inaccessible tomorrow."
Over 70 percent of Darfur's population suffers from "food insecurity," with malnutrition affecting 11.9 percent, he added.
The WFP's total food aid budget for Sudan in 2007 amounts to 685 million dollars (517 million euros), with 44 percent destined for Darfur. This is eight percent lower than the 2006 budget, due to a change in rations that are cheaper but just as nutritional, Belgasmi said.
The UN agency was able to raise 98 percent of its 2006 budget thanks to the efforts of donor countries, prinicipally the United States, the European Union, Canada and Japan, he noted.
Since conflict broke out in Darfur in early 2003, the UN calculates that 200,000 people have died from either the fighting or famine, and over 2.5 million people have been displaced, out of a total population of 6 million.

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