Monday, May 02, 2005

Darfur Part III

This is Part III of our report to Congress on the Darfur crisis. For the history, read Part I and Part II

III. HUMANITARIAN AID

A. Historical Funding Levels

A total of $1.14 billion has been contributed towards the Darfur crisis from the international community since September 2003. This covers contributions to U.N. agencies, NGOs and the Red Cross in Chad and Darfur and contributions to the African Union ceasefire-monitoring mission, the latter amounting to $176 million. Out of the total amount $ 824 million is registered as cash contributions and $313 million as in-kind contributions.

The United States was the largest donor of humanitarian aid to Darfur in 2004, accounting for 33% of total funding, followed by the European Commission with 17%, and the United Kingdom with 14%.

The food sector was the largest recipient of funds accounting for close to 35% of the total funds for the Darfur crisis, followed by health with 7% of the total funding, coordination and support services with 7%, shelter and non-food items with 4%, and water and sanitation with 3% of the total funding. Donors also funded multisectoral activities amounting to close to 24% of the total funding.

Although a humanitarian catastrophe was averted in 2004, the outlook for 2005 remains very poor. While the presence of humanitarian providers has increased considerably, the increases in assistance have not been enough to keep up with the increase in needs.

B. OCHA 2005 Work Plan
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (“OCHA”) in its 2005 Work Plan for the Sudan (the “Work Plan”) lists the following humanitarian challenges in Darfur:

· Food Security and livelihoods: An estimated 465,000 households in Darfur will be in need of agricultural assistance early in 2005 due to crop failure. Without such assistance, food aid will continue to be needed in large quantities. In addition, 90% of Internally Displaced Persons (“IDPs”) have lost their livestock, which hampers income generation, water gathering and hinders return.

· Food aid: In September 2004, 70% of IDPs and conflict-affected residents received some form of food assistance. Increasing numbers of people are becoming dependent on food aid, including 1.4 million IDPs and 21% of residents. Another 26% of the resident population requires close monitoring.

· Malnutrition: The malnutrition situation remains fragile and well beyond emergency thresholds. Global Acute Malnutrition (“GAM”) rates are at 21.8%, with 3.9% severe malnourishment. Among the affected population an estimated 50,000 children will be in need of supplementary feeding programs and a further 9,000 will be in need of therapeutic feeding programs.

· Water and sanitation: About 60% of IDPs and conflict-affected residents do not have access to safe drinking water. Some 70% do not have access to sanitary means of excreta disposal.

· Health: 48 of an estimated 148 IDP locations are covered by one or more primary health care centres, serving around 70% of the war-affected population. The main morbidities are malaria, diarrhea, and acute respiratory infections. There were two main disease outbreaks in 2004; Hepatitis E, with nearly 12,300 clinically diagnosed cases and 142 deaths, and Shigellosis dysentery type 1, with 68 deaths out of 42,700 reported cases. Strengthening of surveillance and management of communicable disease outbreaks remain a priority as does routine immunization.

OCHA’s 2005 U.N. food aid project will be carried out under the aegis of the U.N. World Food Programme (“WFP”). WFP’s principal objectives are to:

(i) ensure that the basic food needs of vulnerable populations affected by conflict and drought are met, thereby saving lives; and
(ii) improve the nutritional status of vulnerable groups by reducing and maintaining GAM rates below 15%.

In the 2005 Work Plan, the United Nations and its partners requested $1.56 billion to meet needs in Sudan in 2005, with $691 million of the sum required for activities in Darfur. As of March 4, 2005, a total of $345 million had been provided by donors, of which $256 million has been dedicated to support the United Nations Work Plan projects in Darfur. Although this response has been positive, it remains insufficient. In addition, with $240 million of the total sum allocated for food aid, donors have not concentrated on other equally important sectors, such as shelter and non-food items. In order to prevent funding shortfalls, the United Nations has produced a timeline for requirements within the Work Plan during 2005. According to the timeline projection, a total of $322 million was required for United Nations activities in Darfur by the end of January 2005. Unfortunately, this funding target was not met.

However, the good news is that despite funding shortfalls, food assistance is generally being provided according to the schedule contained in the Work Plan so far this year. WFP reported that, as of March 6, 2005, a total of 7,963 metric tons (“MT”) of food were dispatched by road and air from Khartoum and El Obeid to the Darfur state capitals, representing 22 percent (or approximately the amount required to be delivered that week) of the monthly distribution plan of 36,795 MT and 18 percent of the overall monthly dispatch plan of 43,120 MT. WFP is currently pre-positioning commodities in West Darfur in advance of the rainy season to prevent the disruption of food distributions.

C. U.S. Government Aid
As of March 11, 2005, $329 million in aid had been provided by the U.S. in this Fiscal Year.
In March , 2005, the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee passed H.R. 1268 (an emergency supplemental appropriations bill), which among its many other appropriation provisions restores $150 million in emergency humanitarian [food] aid to Sudan. The bill is now being considered by the Senate.
The WFP reported on March 9, 2005, that two vessels containing a total of 65,847 MT of wheat provided by the USAID Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) through the Bill Emerson Trust arrived in Sudan in February, 2005.
The following charts summarize U.S. government assistance to Darfur and Chad in Fiscal Years 2004 and 2005 as of March 11, 2005. A list of abbreviations follows the charts.

(charts not repostable)

D. Security and Environmental Challenges to Provision of Food Aid
Lack of security continues to hamper the effective distribution of food this year as was the case in 2004. According to the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team, incidents of banditry are on the rise in West Darfur. On March 8, 2005 two NGO vehicles were stopped outside Habila by armed attackers on horseback who looted the vehicles. On March 10, 2005 two humanitarian vehicles were stopped on the road between Geneina and Kerenik. One vehicle was allowed to proceed; however, money and communications equipment were stolen in North Darfur during that week. In the first incident, a driver en route from El Fasher to El Obeid escaped after his truck was fired upon. The truck, which was empty, remains missing. In the second incident, eight leased trucks were stolen in Al Kuma near Um Kadada. Four of these trucks were loaded with WFP commodities. In the third incident, three leased trucks that were empty were stolen in Sherif Katashi. One driver was injured and the convoy leader was detained.

In December 2004, Save the Children, U.K., a major relief organization, pulled out of the region completely after four of its staff were killed in Darfur, where it provided health care, food support, child protection and education to some 250,000 children and family members. Less than a week later, the WFP stopped its deliveries temporarily when rebels attacked police stations in the neighboring state of West Kordofan. Road closures prevented 70 trucks carrying rations for some 260,000 people from reaching Darfur.

WFP reports that it is preparing to deploy an additional six “security professionals” to perform “security assessments” from March to June 2005. The “security assessment” is intended to assist in the expansion of WFP food assistance, which is currently distributed predominately in IDP locations.

In addition to security concerns, food delivery efforts are hampered by the physical environment of the region. Darfur is a difficult context in which to operate logistically, with minimal infrastructure throughout the region. Darfur’s only paved roads connect the three state capitals. During the rainy season, sections of these roads become impassable. Taking into account the large distances to travel, the remote and dispersed location of much of the population, and the effect of the rainy season, air operations are essential in order to provide uninterrupted humanitarian assistance. Air operations are minimized as much as possible outside of the rainy season via the provision of a common trucking service. As part of its nationwide program to rehabilitate transport infrastructure, WFP plans to rehabilitate the Er-Rahad/Nyala rail corridor this year to reduce transport costs of humanitarian aid. However, if IDPs and conflict-affected persons are to receive services during the rainy season, a large and flexible (e.g. helicopter) air fleet will remain a necessity.

E. Remedial Actions
We strongly urge the Senate to pass, and President Bush to sign into law, the authorization for $150 million in emergency humanitarian [food] aid to Sudan which is contained in H.R. 1268. We also urge the president to accelerate the release of humanitarian assistance funds earmarked for Darfur that have been already authorized by prior legislation. Even if funding targets for the provision of food aid keep pace with levels projected in the Work Plan, security and logistical problems will remain daunting. To address these problems, we would recommend that U.S. government funding be allocated to provide armed civilian security contractors to “ride shotgun” with WFP food convoys and to provide the WFP with additional means of air transport (e.g. helicopters). As noted above, $176 million has been provided by the international community since 2003 to support A.U. ceasefire monitoring efforts. However, as of March 4, 2005, this expenditure had resulted in the deployment of only 1,405 A.U. soldiers. By contrast, only $1 million has been earmarked in 2005 by U.S. AID for emergency food airlift operations. Serious questions must be asked about the priorities reflected in this allocation of resources. The A.U. has no real mandate or inclination to provide security to IDPs or humanitarian aid workers. The organization has been extremely slow to deploy its promised 3,500 troops. Furthermore, it has been quick to blame its lackluster efforts on inadequate U.S. logistical support and funding, according to anecdotal reports from the field.

While civilian security contractors would probably be no match for coordinated military attacks, they would likely discourage disorganized opportunistic bandits and common criminals who seem to pose the greatest threat to humanitarian food deliveries at this time. It is to be noted that the U.S. relied almost exclusively on civilian security contractors to successfully safeguard Ambassador Paul Bremmer during his entire tenure in Iraq. Delivery of food by helicopters instead of by truck would reduce both security and environmental obstacles.

2 comments:

sojourning crow said...

staunch moderate, huh?? does that me you are right down the middle without and left or right leanings??

ah well...an independent hasn't been elcted prez in how many years?? we'll get there.

Dingo said...

for me, being a staunch moderate (even though I am left of center) means believing that the other side can have some good points we should consider. It means shouting down the opposition never results in a benefit for anyone. The left doesn't have all the answers, the right doesn't have all the answers. Usually the best thing is to find the compromise in the middle.