Aid corridor opened to Darfur

Relief supplies are to be shipped to Libya’s Mediterranean port of Banghazi and dispatched south to Chad and Sudan where more than one million people have been displaced by fighting.

WFP Deputy Director John Powell said he hoped aid might now reach Darfur’s desperately hungry refugees by next month.

However, even with improved aid delivery, hundreds of thousands of people are threatened by cholera, dysentery and malaria.

Two senior World Health Organisation (WHO) officials told a press conference that people are dying because they are now living without proper sanitation, clean water and food.

The pressure on refugee camps is immense and continues to grow.

WHO Director General Lee Jong Wook, and the eastern Mediterranean’s regional director, Dr Hussein Gezairy, said 300 newcomers were arriving every day at just one camp outside Nyala in South Darfur.

With the peak of the rainy season just weeks away, water could inundate camps in the region, making them “ripe for a cholera outbreak”.

Sudan’s government has pledged 100 million Sudanese pounds (roughly $AUD 53,000) to each of Darfur’s three states per month to boost health services there.

In addition, NGO’s have offered about $AUD 13.8 million in cash donations.

On the political front, Khartoum has entered talks with Darfur’s rebels in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Discussions are aimed at fully implementing a shaky ceasefire agreed in April, and Sudan’s government has vowed to curb raids being conducted by Arab militias.

Rebellion broke out in Darfur in February 2003, after the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement rose up in defiance of alleged neglect by Khartoum.

Since then, more than 10,000 people have died.

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