After Dr. Ahmed visited us at PHR on Monday, he was interviewed by Boston Globe reporter James F. Smith, who blogged the Dr. Ahmed's comments yesterday and adapted the piece for a newspaper feature today.
[Dr. Ahmed] said that after visiting with decision-makers in Washington, he is worried that the Obama Administration still lacks a clear strategy for the Darfur crisis.
“There is no clear plan yet to deal with Sudan in this country,” he said in an interview. “We are urging this country, which gives more than 70 percent of the aid to Darfur, that it is time to stand up and say the right thing…. Americans should be sure that this money and aid goes to the the targeted groups.
“We need a very transparent mechanism. And we need more pressure,” he said, adding that “US officials are sympathizing very much, but they still don’t have clear policies.”
Ahmed said the stress on internal refugees because of the food and water crisis may drive thousands more to make the dangerous trek from Darfur to camps in neighboring Chad. He said residents of some camps in Darfur are refusing to work with Sudanese government officials who are trying to take over the food distribution duties of the expelled groups….
The reduction of food rations for residents of the camps has left the elderly and children more vulnerable this time, he said, and there are also reports of increased tuberculosis and diarrheal diseases.
All of that raises the risk of more Darfurians trying to flee to Chad, he said.
Smith also spoke with Karen Hirschfeld, Director of PHR's Darfur Survival Campaign, who visited the camps in Chad in November, while studying women's rights violations.
“There is clearly not the capacity in the camps to deal with thousands of additional refugees," she said. "If 100,000 refugees come across border, the camps cannot cope. The security situation is precarious. Aid agencies are delivering just basic services. The infrastructure has been degreaded by already dealing with 250,000 refugees; they are not in a position to deal with tens of thousands more.”
Excerpts from first hand accounts of Darfuri women who will be featured in Karen's forthcoming report are available on DarfuriWomen.org.