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World Food Program: Darfur Will Need Food Aid Next Year Too - 2004-10-06

The World Food Program is warning that people living in the war-torn Darfur region of western Sudan will need food aid until the end of next year.

There will be no harvest in Darfur in October and November because people who would have planted the crops earlier this year instead fled raids, bombardments, rapes, and other violence.

That is the assessment of the U.N. World Food Program, according to spokesman Greg Barrow. Mr. Barrow says it is likely that people in Darfur will be too afraid or unsettled to plant crops next year as well, and will need help throughout 2005.

"We are looking at a long-term situation there," he said. "Possibly towards the end of next year and maybe even beyond, there is going to have to be large-scale international humanitarian assistance to help these people feed themselves."

Mr. Barrow says the WFP has received $167 million of its $204 million budget for food aid for Darfur this year. He urged donors to make up the difference.

Ever since the outbreak of the Darfur war early last year, thousands of people have lost their lives and more than one-million people have been displaced by the fighting.

The Darfur conflict has been called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Mr. Barrow says the continuing lack of security in Darfur has hampered the World Food Program's effort to distribute food to people who need it.