March 9, 2009 (NYALA) — The internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the war-torn region of Darfur expressed dismay and disarray at the timid reaction of the international community after the expulsion of 13 aid groups that had been providing them with basic services.
- Displaced Darfuris are seen in the town of Gereida, southern Darfur, May 2006.
Last Wednesday hours after the International Criminal Court made public its decision to arrest the Sudanese President, Khartoum ordered 13 foreign aid groups to leave the country accusing them of cooperation with the court.
"Now we begin to doubt the UN’s capacity to implement its resolutions and to impose its will, because the situation is worsening inside the camps and after one week people will die from hunger and thirst," said Abu Sharati, a spokesperson of the IDPs in Darfur.
Describing the alarming situation in Darfur camps, Abu Sharati said children and women have started missing water, food and medical services.
"There will be genocide" he stressed.
There are some 2.7 million IDPs who depended on international assistance since 2004, one year after the beginning of Darfur armed conflict. The expelled organizations have some 6,500 staff, including national staff, composing 40% of the humanitarian workforce.
"These organizations provide a lifeline to 4.7 million people in Darfur alone, and millions more in other areas of Northern Sudan. While some 85 international NGOs operate in Darfur, without these organizations much of the aid operation literally comes to a halt” said the UN agencies in Sudan.
The United Nations’ top humanitarian official said today that the UN continues to strive at all levels to reverse the ordered departure of the 13 groups.
"We have been in touch with the Government of Sudan, at many levels, and indeed with many other key players over the weekend," John Holmes told reporters in New York, adding that the NGOs had been advised to exercise their right of appeal against the decision.
Holmes further said that UN chief Ban Ki-moon has been calling stakeholders and that possibilities include a conversation between him and Al-Bashir "at the right moment."
Neither the UN nor the government, he warned, had the capacity to fill all the gaps left by the departing organizations, who worked in partnership with the UN agencies on the ground.
Yesterday a Sudanese official, Mahdi Qutbi, said there are more than 200 national groups — some of which he said are already working on the ground — which can fill the gap caused by the forced departure of the foreign organizations.