Meeting Darfur's Humanitarian Needs


Meeting Darfur's Humanitarian Needs

September 23, 2007

Despite recent political developments, the humanitarian crisis in Darfur is steadily worsening. At this critical juncture, it is more important than ever that aid organizations maintain their essential presence in the region. AJWS is constantly developing and updating strategies with our partners in the region to ensure that our funding reaches those most in need.

Food: Losses and gains
Sudan is currently facing a food crisis as a result of financial shortfalls in the U.N.’s World Food Programme (WFP). A shortage of steady and timely funding for food recently caused the WFP to announce they would be cutting the amount of calories for refugees in half, from 2300 to 1050 calories.

As a result of donations from foreign governments, NGOs, and private donations, full rations have now been temporarily restored, but without these donations the WFP will not be able to sustain current food levels.

AJWS is addressing the food crisis in a variety of ways. We are donating $300,000 worth of emergency food relief to provide supplemental feeding not only in Darfur but also in Chad, where many Darfuri people have found refuge. This aid will benefit not only Darfuris but also the host Chadian community.

Healthcare: An urgent need
The lack of basic healthcare is a major threat to the people of Darfur. The need for mobile clinics that reach a wide geographic area is increasing. Lack of funding and the prevailing insecurity in the region is causing clinics to shut down. Many of our grantees’ finances will only support their clinics for another six months; some are now pulling from emergency reserves; and one of our partner organizations will most likely have to close all of its clinics in West Darfur and South Darfur this month.

In response, AJWS is giving a large grant to an organization that will allow for 20 medical-based projects, providing a full range of medical support. This includes basic and emergency relief, reproductive health and pre-natal care, vaccinations and surgeries. Additional grants from AJWS are funding water sanitation and health monitoring to prevent and contain epidemics.

Violence: A persistent threat
Many Darfuris face a daily onslaught of violence that cripples their access to the most basic of needs. For example, women who leave their refugee camps to collect firewood are regularly attacked and raped by the Janjaweed, but without firewood, it’s impossible for them to cook food for their families.

AJWS is currently supporting an emergency program for girls, educating them in how to access safe spaces and avoid situations where they might be vulnerable to rape or abuse. An additional grant is supporting a psychosocial assistance program, focusing on the treatment and prevention of child abuse.

The Future
Aid organizations should not have to decide what aspects of people’s lives are most expendable. Unfortunately, that is exactly what they are being forced to do. As there isn’t enough funding for Darfuri relief and aid, organizations have to choose health care at the expense of water sanitation, or food at the expense of education. Without an honest commitment from all parties to the genocide, and without action by the international community to restore peace and stability to the region, there is little hope for the future for the people of Darfur.