Darfur Aid Workers Inhibited by Militias

ABATA, Sudan (www.zenit.org) — While people living in displacement camps now have access to basic services, remote communities in Darfur have received little humanitarian assistance because of continued security threats to aid workers.

A sick child, one of the many victims of the Darfur conflict.
Photo by: Ruth Messinger/American Jewish World Service

Charlotte Brudenell (of ACT-Caritas) reported that Action by Churches Together International and Caritas Internationalis are working together in a joint response to the Darfur crisis by providing clean water and improvements to hygiene, although their efforts have been hampered by violent militias.

Brudenell said the international community has often defined the conflict in Darfur as one divided along ethnic lines, but this simplified analysis is crumbling in the face of reality given that alliances continue to shift.

According to Brudenell, “Last month, two vehicles from the only other international NGO working in the region were attacked and stolen on their way to Abata. All humanitarian movement to the area was stopped while investigations into the latest incident took place.”

Brudenell added, “Similarly, in five other villages to the southeast of Zalingei, where ACT-Caritas has begun to implement water and sanitation programs, work has stopped due to the presence of armed militias that are now fighting each other in the area.”

“Humanitarian and development aid is vital,” said Brudenell. “It is not only a way to limit polarization and build bridges between the different communities in Darfur, but it also addresses one root cause of the conflict in Darfur — lack of development.”

Copyright 2007, Innovative Media, Inc. Posted with permission from www.Zenit.com.

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