Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Sudan- Aid convoys under attack in Darfur

Two articles chronicling a 'dramatic rise in attacks on aid convoys in Darfur', according to the World Food Programme. The impact was measured by the number of people now 'out of reach' for food aid, apparently now at 170,000.

Nothing earth shattering in the piece, beyond the scale of challenges facing civilian actors in a context where the range of arms carriers continues to multiply as groups fracture into smaller and smaller entities, with little link to any clear chain of command. Perhaps it's a poor measure of insecurity, but given the sheer scale of the operation, couldn't we consider the insecurity to be statistically lower than in a comparatively smaller operation? A good overview of WFP assets and exposure are including in the original WFP text:

'The WFP’s food distribution in Darfur is the largest ongoing humanitarian effort in the world, employing nearly 800 people and over 700 trucks to feed more than two million people every month. The U.N. agency says it plans to distribute up to 450,000 metric tons of food in Darfur at a cost of about half a billion dollars this year.

The UN’s Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in an email to The Associated Press that 76 vehicles from the U.N. or other aid groups have been stolen in Darfur so far this year, and that 77 humanitarian convoys were attacked. The WFP said 18 of its food convoys have been attacked this year, and 10 staff, including contractors, have been either detained or abducted. The attacks are carried out by several of Darfur’s various warring parties, and the WFP believes the motive is banditry, said Emilia Casella, the WFP spokeswoman in Sudan. “The people who are doing this are wearing different kinds of uniforms,” she said, calling on “all parties in Darfur” to cease attacks and respect humanitarian workers. Large amounts of food have also been looted during ambushes, Casella said. There were five attacks last week in southern Darfur, she said, and gunmen looted seven trucks, stealing approximately 10 metric tons of food.'

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