By Nicholas D. Kristof, from his blog, On the Ground:
Since aid workers were expelled from Darfur, we’ve heard very little about conditions in the camps there. And of course, Sudan isn’t giving me a visa to report there. But this anonymous former aid worker describes conditions in a couple of camps that are consistent what I’m hearing:
Zam Zam camp in North Darfur has virtually doubled in size in the past two months. 36,000 people have arrived there since the end of January, fleeing fighting between government and rebels. They are homeless, hungry and desperate, and urgently in need of help. Many are women and children. Helping so many new arrivals would always be an enormous challenge, but with many of the biggest aid agencies now gone it is going to be nearly impossible. As a result, these families are not receiving the food and water they need.
In Kalma camp in South Darfur, the situation is even more serious. The entire camp, which shelters 90,000 people, has not received any aid in weeks. Feeding centres for malnourished children are running out of food. Water pumps have run out of fuel and stopped working. A meningitis outbreak has killed at least two people - there may be more but aid workers are no longer there to confirm it.
All this makes the Arab League’s decision to stand behind President Bashir simply blood-curdling. How can the Arab League have any credibility when it talks of human rights and justice when it stands united with the man whom an international court has indicted for “extermination” and “crimes against humanity”? The Arab League simply ends up complicit in the further horrors unfolding there.