Very disturbing news out of Darfur, from The Guardian:

The World Food Programme is to halve food rations for up to 3 million people in Darfur from next month because of insecurity along the main supply routes. At least 60 WFP lorries have been hijacked since December in Sudan’s western province, where government forces and rebels have been at war for five years. The hijacks have drastically curtailed the delivery of food to warehouses ahead of the rainy season that lasts from May to September, when there is limited market access and crop stocks are depleted.

Instead of the normal ration of 500 grams of cereal a day, people in displaced persons’ camps and conflict-affected villages will only get 225 grams from next month, the UN agency said yesterday. Rations of pulses and sugar will also be halved, giving people barely 60% of their recommended minimum daily calorie intake.

The WFP said that while Sudan’s government provided security for convoys on the main supply routes, the escorts were too infrequent, given the huge demand for food at this time of year. “Attacks on the food pipeline are an attack on the most vulnerable people in Darfur,” said Josette Sheeran, the agency’s executive director. “With up to 3 million people depending on us for their survival in the rainy season, keeping WFP’s supply line open is a matter of life and death. We call on all parties to protect the access to food.”

Sheeran’s exhortation painfully underscores the urgent need for a larger and more robust peacekeeping force in Darfur. The parties responsible for disrupting WFP’s supply lines — government and rebel forces, as well as opportunistic bandits — are not going to police themselves, as severing — or appropriating — humanitarian aid is often, perversely, the exact purpose of these groups. Protecting humanitarian supply lines, then, is one area in which a neutral peacekeeping force can have an immediate impact — even before Darfur’s sputtering peace process can achieve a sustainable political solution.

At a Global Day for Darfur event here on the Mall in Washington last Sunday, Amnesty International and Tents of Hope had set up an evocative display of little baggies containing the amount of food that each Darfurian in an Internally Displaced Persons Camp receives each day. The small piles of lentils and flour were not much, and halving even that meager amount bodes very poorly indeed for the future of Darfur’s displaced.

Very disturbing news out of Darfur, from The Guardian:

The World Food Programme is to halve food rations for up to 3 million people in Darfur from next month because of insecurity along the main supply routes. At least 60 WFP lorries have been hijacked since December in Sudan’s western province, where government forces and rebels have been at war for five years. The hijacks have drastically curtailed the delivery of food to warehouses ahead of the rainy season that lasts from May to September, when there is limited market access and crop stocks are depleted.

Instead of the normal ration of 500 grams of cereal a day, people in displaced persons’ camps and conflict-affected villages will only get 225 grams from next month, the UN agency said yesterday. Rations of pulses and sugar will also be halved, giving people barely 60% of their recommended minimum daily calorie intake.

The WFP said that while Sudan’s government provided security for convoys on the main supply routes, the escorts were too infrequent, given the huge demand for food at this time of year. “Attacks on the food pipeline are an attack on the most vulnerable people in Darfur,” said Josette Sheeran, the agency’s executive director. “With up to 3 million people depending on us for their survival in the rainy season, keeping WFP’s supply line open is a matter of life and death. We call on all parties to protect the access to food.”

Sheeran’s exhortation painfully underscores the urgent need for a larger and more robust peacekeeping force in Darfur. The parties responsible for disrupting WFP’s supply lines — government and rebel forces, as well as opportunistic bandits — are not going to police themselves, as severing — or appropriating — humanitarian aid is often, perversely, the exact purpose of these groups. Protecting humanitarian supply lines, then, is one area in which a neutral peacekeeping force can have an immediate impact — even before Darfur’s sputtering peace process can achieve a sustainable political solution.

At a Global Day for Darfur event here on the Mall in Washington last Sunday, Amnesty International and Tents of Hope had set up an evocative display of little baggies containing the amount of food that each Darfurian in an Internally Displaced Persons Camp receives each day. The small piles of lentils and flour were not much, and halving even that meager amount bodes very poorly indeed for the future of Darfur’s displaced.

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