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Sudanese Activists Warn Thousands of IDPs Will Flee Darfur


Sudanese human rights activists are urging the international community to prepare for the mass movement of internally displaced people in Darfur as critical aid starts to give out. They say the expulsion of 13 leading non-governmental organizations by Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir is already having a serious impact and they fear people in Darfur will flee to other places in search of help.

Sudanese human rights activists are in Geneva appealing to the UN Human Rights Council and to various U.N. aid agencies to help millions of people in Darfur whose very survival is at stake.

They say 50 percent of the assistance internally displaced people in camps receive is provided by the 13 private agencies. They say the United Nations complex humanitarian operation in this conflict-ridden province cannot function efficiently without their help.

Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir expelled the agencies earlier this month following his indictment by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes.

Mahmoud Braima represents the Washington-based Darfur Association of the United States. He tells VOA, 2.7 million displaced people in Darfur will be immediately affected by the expulsions and at least 4.7 million people will be indirectly affected in the long run.

He says food and water will soon run out. And, he warns there will be outbreaks of diseases such as diarrhea, meningitis and malaria once the rainy season starts in a couple of months.

"We also think that people are going to start moving again," said Braima. "There is going to be a need for resources and they are going to move where they think or at least perceive there are more resources available to them."

"That means that they are going to move internally, particularly to other States within the Sudan or across the border to the neighboring countries, particularly Chad, Central African Republic. These two will be seeing a new wave of refugees," he added.

Braima says the Sudanese government will not be able to fill the gap left by the expelled aid agencies. He says the government does not want the West to provide aid in Darfur and wants to throw the remaining NGO's out of Darfur by the end of the year.

"So, we think this is going to create a very dire situation where some of us might think of it as genocide by other means rather than by bullets - killing these people slowly through starvation, disease and lack of sanitation," said Briaima.

Braima says the international community must prepare for a mass exodus of refugees from Darfur by pre-positioning aid in Chad, the Central African Republic and areas within Sudan where people are likely to go.

He says having relief supplies on hand will help alleviate some of the suffering experienced by people forced to flee their homes.

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