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Friday, 12 March 2010

Deafening silence in Darfur as the conflict reignites - our team is evacuated


On the 24th February, our team in Darfur was forced to evacuate after the sudden attack by against rebel forces.

This new crisis has led to the internal displacement of over 100,000 people, further increasing their vulnerability, as they already suffer from insufficient healthcare.

We fear that without access to food, water, proper sanitation and healthcare, the risks of malnutrition, meningitis and epidemics will increase significantly.

Dr Jerome Larche, our head of mission in Sudan expressed great concern: "We urge the Sudanese government and the UN to give us the security assurances required to re-enter the area immediately. Our assessment teams urgently need access before this already catastrophic humanitarian disaster gets any worse. In the meantime we are preparing for an emergency intervention."



Fears amongst our volunteers in the field

Peter Camp, one of our volunteer logisticians on the ground, says that there is a lot of frustration felt among NGOs in Darfur, as we have lost all contact with our local team and he fears that this crisis will only worsen an already difficult situation.

"The whole Sudan expat team will be in Nyala on Sunday for a team meeting. We will all be working hard to prepare for the time when we can get back in. We hope that will be soon as it is now one month since the evacuation from Feina. It is frustrating but in reality we need a little time to be ready to respond. We can only speculate what we will find when we get there, but it will not be good."


The sound of silence

The lack of media coverage about this emergency evacuation leaves the local population entirely at the mercy of abuse, violence and disease, and undermines the gravity of the situation on the global stage as it remains excluded from external help.

"We will be keeping the team in London updated as this is not a small event, but a major crisis. I understand that there has been virtually no coverage in the UK and so you may want to check out the Reuters Africa web site or Reuters Alternet. Their coverage has been mostly accurate as far as I know."

If you would like to read the latest articles in the news about this conflict, find out more about our project in Darfur, or any volunteer opportunities there with Doctors of the World, please email swright@doctorsoftheworld.org.uk

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