The increasing insecurity in Sudan’s Darfur region is affecting the UN food agency operations there. The World Food Program is being forced to change where and when it delivers supplies, depending on where the latest fighting or violence is taking place.
Carlos Veloso is the WFP’s emergency coordinator for Darfur. From Khartoum, he spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the effects of the insecurity on food deliveries. He says, “The insecurity hampers us in assisting people we know are in need. We estimate that this month, because of the insecurity, we could not reach around 260,000 people, which have been reached in the previous months. Of course, this is an aspect of great concern for us. We know that there are people who need the food. If this food is not given in time the levels of malnutrition will increase and, of course, deaths will increase and it will be a very bad scenario.”
The location and timing of the insecurity varies. Mr. Veloso says,“ In the last events, which were in South Darfur, they were affecting South Darfur. Last month we could not reach about 200,000 people in North Darfur, which luckily this month we have been able to reach them. We know when we cannot go. But we never know when we can go again.”
The insecurity generally takes two forms: fighting between rebels and government-backed forces and banditry. The WFP official also reacted to the withdrawal from Darfur by Save the Children UK, which had four workers killed recently. He says when such groups leave it places a strain on WFP resources because many of these NGOs also help with medical care, water and sanitation.