Friday, June 11, 2004

Part II 

[4] Total number of "war-affected" persons

The number of "war-affected" persons is, according to the US Agency for
International Development and other international aid agencies, 2.2

"Describing the humanitarian and human rights crisis in Sudan's Darfur
region as being 'of extraordinary gravity, magnitude and urgency,' the
United Nations, donor countries and aid agencies today wrapped up a
meeting by appealing for at least $236 million to help an estimated 2.2
million victims of the war and forced ethnic displacement." (UN News
Centre, June 3, 2004)

This finding confirms an earlier finding by the Office of the UN
Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Khartoum:

"According to the Office of the U.N. Resident and Humanitarian
Coordinator (UN RC) in Khartoum, as of May 1, there are now more than 2
million conflict-affected persons in Darfur compared to 1.1 million in
April (US AID "Darfur---Humanitarian Emergency," May 21, 2004 fact

"War-affected" has no formalized meaning, but what conversations with
UN, US, and other aid officials suggest is that this is the population
at risk from dying of the consequences of violence, displacement,
famine, and disease. It is the base-line number for the "US AID
Mortality Rates." 2.2 million is approximately one third of Darfur's
estimated population of 6.5 million. It is the number---along with the
200,000 refugees in Chad---that must define the requirements of
humanitarian aid for a very extended period of time.

For it cannot be stressed too often that the African peoples of Darfur,
overwhelmingly the victims in this genocidal conflict, are primarily
agriculturalists. And not only has there been no spring planting, and
thus no fall harvest, the likelihood of a fall/winter planting grows
more and more remote. These deeply traumatized populations, described
by senior aid officials as some of the most fearful they have
encountered in their careers, will not return to the rural countryside
to resume their farming lives without security, without fear of further
attacks by the Janjaweed.

But such security is nowhere on the horizon; indeed, all reports
suggest continuing and unconstrained violence by the Janjaweed militia,
as well as continuing attacks by Khartoum's military aircraft. In
addition to two aerial attacks on Thabit (near El Fasher, capital of
North Darfur) on May 28, 2004 and June 4, 2004, Khartoum also reportedly
attacked insurgency forces from the air "in the area around Kiro,
approximately 30 kilometers north of Geneina in West Darfur" on June 7
and 8, 2004 (US AID "Darfur---Humanitarian Emergency," June 10, 2004
fact sheet).

Further, the US Agency for International Development, informed by US
intelligence assets, reports that:

"armed Janjawid militia were continuing to attack civilians in all
three states of Darfur and that killings, rapes, beatings, looting and
burning of homes were still being reported. In Northern Darfur State,
attacks on villages had only decreased because 'a significant number' of
villages had already been destroyed, while attacks on camps for
internally displaced persons were continuing." (UN Integrated Regional
Information Networks, June 1, 2004)

Such blatant and serious violations of the now merely notional April 8,
2004 cease-fire not only make clear the gross inadequacies of the
African Union monitoring force deployed this week, but also strongly
suggest that displaced African agriculturalists will not return to their
homes for a long period of time. The consequences of a prolonged lack
of agricultural production will be disastrous, leaving an ever-larger
population of "war-affected." Moreover, the duration of the period in
which affected populations will be dependent upon humanitarian
assistance also extends. These "war-affected" people may require food
aid for as long as 18 months. This has enormous implications for
humanitarian planning and any assessment of transport capacity (see

[5] Camp populations

[a] In Darfur

The number of displaced persons in Darfur who are in camps, with or
without humanitarian access, can only be guessed. Many humanitarian
workers estimate that something over half the total displaced population
of 1.1 million are in camps of some form. This suggests a total camp
population of 600,000 to 700,000 for all of Darfur. On the basis of
claims by aid organizations, roughly half these camp populations have
humanitarian access. But the meaning of such "access" must be regarded
with considerable skepticism.

We must note first that access in Darfur, given the severe travel
restrictions still in place, is first and foremost an ominous sign of
large concentrations of people. We are not speaking of access to people
to where they live, or to nearby villages and smaller towns, but to
camps in larger urban areas to which people have been
forced---concentrated in very large numbers by circumstance and by
violent coercion. This deliberate policy on Khartoum's part has the
effect of taking the targeted African populations out of the conflict as
a source of manpower, food, or intelligence; it also makes them
dependent upon international aid, as they can no longer be
agriculturally productive. The purpose of this genocidal tactic is to
leave the insurgency forces to starve in the rural areas (this is likely
to produce more hijackings of humanitarian aid delivered by truck

Moreover, sometimes access is granted by Khartoum, only to be
subsequently denied---sometimes violently or forcefully, as at the
Intifada Camp outside Nyala (see January report, Doctors Without
Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres:

And most importantly, access will mean little if there are no food or
medical supplies. All reports from the ground in Darfur indicate that
not nearly enough of either has been prepositioned, even as the rains
have now begun. Nor will transport capacity for 2.2 million people for
as long as 18 months be adequate (see analysis below). To be sure,
transport requirements will decline with the famine and accompanying
epidemics: as people die, they will no longer need food, and the total
food requirements will diminish. But there will too likely be many more
to replace them.

What is most troubling about an estimate of humanitarian access to
roughly half the camp populations is that this implies roughly half are
inaccessible. In other words, as many as 300,000 to 400,000 are in
camps that to which there is no humanitarian access, no human rights
monitoring, no reporting of any kind. The Kailek concentration camp
(south of Kass in South Darfur State) was one such camp, to which an
intrepid UN inter-agency investigative team finally forced access in
April 2004. This will likely by the last time the UN or other
investigators gain such access, given the nature of ensuing report,
which found a "strategy of systematic and deliberate starvation,"
"imprisonment," a "policy of forced starvation," an unreported "child
mortality rate of 8-9 per day," and the continued obstruction of
humanitarian aid for this critically distressed, forcibly confined
("Report: A United Nations Inter-Agency fact-finding and humanitarian
needs assessment mission, Kailek, South Darfur, 24 April 2004")

The investigation of Kailek generated, on the part of professional
humanitarian aid workers, explicit comparison to Rwanda:

"We are sure that the team would have learned more about the crimes
committed against civilians in the region had it been granted wider
access to the areas of conflict. The stories that we have received from
the survivors of the acts of mass murder are very painful for us and
they remind us of the brutalities of the Rwanda genocide."
("Report: A United Nations Inter-Agency fact-finding and humanitarian
needs assessment mission, Kailek, South Darfur, 24 April 2004")

The inescapable inference is that there are many, many
Kaileks---remaining invisible, inaccessible, collectively what this
writer has described as an "African Auschwitz" (May 12, 2004 analysis;
available upon request).

[b] In Chad

With obvious but misplaced pride, the UN High Commission for Refugees
announced earlier this week that:

"Nearly 90,000 Sudanese refugees have now been moved into our eight
camps away from the Chad-Sudan border." (UNCHR Press Release, June 8,

What went unstated was that whereas this represented 80% of the stale
figure of 110,000 Darfurian refugees in Chad, it represents only 45% of
the more accurate figure of 200,000 refugees (see above). More than
100,000 refugees in Chad remain extremely vulnerable and without relief
along the very lengthy border areas. Again the comments of Jean-Charles
Dei, deputy director of the UN World Food Programme in Chad, on the fate
of refugees along the Chad/Sudan Border:

"[Dei] said the rains would also bring inevitable outbreaks of disease,
including cholera and measles. 'There will be a tragedy if nothing
happens. [ ] I don't think any of the children under the age of five
will make it, and the pregnant women too. For those who are under five
there is no chance. They will die from starvation.'" (The Scotsman
[dateline: Chad/Darfur border], June 10, 2004)

And again the condition of these camps in Chad as recently assessed by
Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF):

"[According to MSF], malnutrition inside the refugee camps is actually
worse than outside because they are so overcrowded. Sanitation
facilities in most of the camps were also 'totally inadequate,' said the
agency last week.
In one camp there was one latrine per 400 refugees. 'This is 20 times
greater than the international standard of a maximum of 20 people per
latrine. It's absolutely unacceptable.' Although UNHCR and international
NGOs had had teams on the ground in Chad for months, progress had been
'painfully slow' as the crisis escalated, said MSF, noting that
sufficient shelter, food and water had not been organised, and that some
of the camps were filled to double their capacity."
(UN Integrated Regional Information Networks [Nairobi] May 21, 2004)

In Chad there have been no restrictions by Khartoum, though the regime
has clearly sanctioned cross-border raiding by the Janjaweed---some to
very considerable depths. There have also been numerous military
provocations of Chad by Khartoum's regular military forces, including by
means of aerial military assets.

It must also be noted in fairness that the international community has
failed to fund refugee operations for this desperate population.
European funding commitments at the recently concluded donors conference
in Geneva were particularly disappointing.

[6] Humanitarian requirements/humanitarian capacity

A survey of humanitarian logisticians indicates that food requirements
for the war-affected populations of Darfur are approximately 16,000
metric tons per month per million people (some estimates were in the
range of 15,000 metric tons, one estimate was 17,500). The total food
requirement for 2.2 million people is thus approximately 35,000 metric
tons per month. During the four remaining months of the rainy season,
assuming (unreasonably) that the war-affected population does not
increase, the food required will be approximately 140,000 tons. This of
course does not include medical supplies, shelter, humanitarian
personnel and their requirements. Nor does it take account of the
logistical difficulties in providing an appropriate mix of food: ideally
a minimum of 530 grams per person per day, comprising 450 grams of
cereals (85%), 50 grams of pulses (9%), and 30 grams of oil (6%).

Since agricultural production has ceased in Darfur because of the
insecurity created by Khartoum's Janjaweed militias, the figure of
35,000 metric tons per month, plus medical and shelter supplies, must be
extended for the foreseeable future.

What happens when we examine these needs in the context of current
humanitarian capacity? Especially with the road corridors from Chad to
Darfur already partially severed and soon to be severed entirely?

The gross mismatch between capacity and planned delivery suggests how
terribly consequential previous humanitarian interference has been and
how immensely destructive continuing interference will be in the months
to come. And even planned delivery seems excessively, which is to say
fatally, optimistic.

The UN World Food Program "plans" to move "approximately 52,000 metric
tons of commodities to Darfur to meet the needs of approximately 1
million beneficiaries from June to August" (US AID
"Darfur---Humanitarian Emergency," June 4, 2004 fact sheet). But
52,000 metric tons represents only half what is required for 2.2 million
people now described by the UN, the US, and the European Union as
"victims of the war and forced ethnic displacement" (UN News Centre,
June 3, 2004). What about the other 1.1 million people? Are they
simply to wait their turn? "Waiting" in Darfur is a death sentence.
What has gone wrong with the planning here? And what if the "plans" to
move 52,000 tons go awry in ways all too predictable? What if real or
Khartoum-contrived security issues delay these "plans"? Will more
hundreds of thousands of people have to "wait"? Other capacity issues
loom, as Refugees International reported last week:

"Khartoum was continuing to place obstacles in the way of agencies
seeking to respond to the Darfur crisis by requiring relief supplies to
be transported on Sudanese trucks and distributed by Sudanese
(UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, June 1, 2004)

And as US AID also very recently reported:

"The primary constraints to full food distributions continue to be
transportation and access. At present, the Government of Sudan has not
allowed the UN World Food Program to tender contracts from foreign
trucking companies, insisting that WFP use local transporters that often
have limited capacity [ ]. Additionally, WFP reports that 30% of
distribution locations remain inaccessible." (US AID
"Darfur---Humanitarian Emergency," June 10, 2004 fact sheet)

But is even non-Sudanese overland trucking capacity remotely adequate
to the task at hand? US AID reports more recently that:

"50 long-bed trucks arrived from Chad to Geneina (West Darfur) this
week. This will bring the World Food Programs' dedicated trucking fleet
from 90 to 140 trucks. The monthly distribution capacity of this
dedicated fleet is 8,000 metric tons, enough food for approximately
500,000 beneficiaries."
(US AID "Darfur---Humanitarian Emergency," June 10, 2004 fact sheet).

Again, this speaks only of food, not medical or shelter supplies---and
yet is woefully inadequate to humanitarian needs. Moreover, something
of the logistical complexity of the trucking operation can be gathered
from other highlighted items in this most recent US AID "fact sheet"
(this focuses only on the problems in West Darfur; North Darfur and
South Darfur present similarly complex logistical and capacity

"Before the heavy rains in mid-July, the World Food Program [WFP]
expects to have already completed July distributions [for West Darfur].
However, WFP's main implementing partner, Save the Children-US (SC-US),
reports a need to pre-position and/or distribute food for August as
well. Approximately 70,000 beneficiaries in areas southwest of Geneina
could be completely inaccessible by road from mid-July to mid-September,
and the Nyala-Geneina road could be impassable for days at a time during
that period."

"According to the US AID/DART, WFP does not appear to have sufficient
capacity at present to pre-position three months'-worth of rations in
West Darfur. Monthly food requirements in West Darfur are approximately
4,500 metric tons. To date, WFP has only 500 metric tons of food
stockpiled in Geneina, and while WFP continues to urge truckers to move
quickly, security incidents on the key roads been Ed Da'ein and Nyala
will likely affect truckers' willingness to travel unescorted, or
without security guarantees from the UN."

"Transporting sufficient quantities of food to Nyala, and then on to
West Darfur, has been a significant challenge for WFP. Food monitors
for SC-US waited in Foro Burunga, West Darfur, for two weeks for WFP to
deliver the May rations, which were to be distributed on June 4 and 6,
but the quantities were not sufficient and some commodities were
(US AID "Darfur---Humanitarian Emergency," June 10, 2004 fact sheet)

Other highly consequential logistical and transport capacity problems
abound; more yet will be encountered during the difficult rainy season

[7] Conclusion

We don't need all the statistical details to see that there is a gross
mismatch between humanitarian need and humanitarian capacity and access.
This mismatch will only become more severe, and fatally consequential,
as the full effects of the rains are felt within the next month.
Contemplating how humanitarian needs can be met for as long as 18
months, with continuing violence and insecurity, and in the face of
Khartoum's relentless obstructionism, we must accept the reality that
many hundreds of thousands of human beings are at acute risk of
perishing. The death toll among children under five will be shockingly
high---a huge percentage of casualties that will now inevitably exceed a
third of a million human beings.

No improvement in humanitarian planning, no practicable augmenting of
trucking or airlift capacity, no belated granting of full access by
Khartoum can enable an appropriate response to this catastrophe.
Deliberately engineered to destroy the African peoples of Darfur, this
genocide cannot be stopped, only mitigated. Khartoum has simply been
too successful in "deliberately inflicting on these [African] groups
conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction
in whole or in part" (1949 UN Genocide Convention).

Humanitarian intervention is all that can now respond meaningfully to
the crisis and mitigate Khartoum's genocidal destruction. The capacity
of the rail line running from Port Sudan, through Khartoum, and on to
Nyala (South Darfur) would clearly be adequate if seized, urgently
repaired, and internationalized for humanitarian purposes. Certainly
the Khartoum regime, once engaged in a policy of genocide, has
completely foregone any claim to "national sovereignty."

The issue now is not the legitimacy of humanitarian intervention but
the overwhelming need of those who will suffer and die because of
genocide. The question any moral clarity must force is whether the UN,
or a non-UN multilateral humanitarian military force, will create the
necessary transport capacity for all humanitarian supplies---food,
medicine, and shelter. Beyond this, such a force must fully secure all
the camps in Darfur, those to which access has been granted and those
presently beyond reach of all aid. Moreover, security must be
re-established in the rural areas if agricultural production is to
resume and these African Darfurians are again to become

Finally, an international tribunal must hold accountable those
responsible for genocide in Darfur. Those within the National Islamic
Front regime, within the Sudanese armed forces, and within the Janjaweed
command must be tried and brought face to face to face with their
victims. Justice, however belated and woefully inadequate, must be
meted out to the genocidaires.

Though the data of genocide may be quantified, the evil behind it
cannot. But such evil must nonetheless be recognized, combated, and
made an indelible part of our historical understanding, forcing us
always to see our capacity for failure. For we are failing Darfur in
all ways...in all ways.


Eric Reeves
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?