June 11, 2004
 Total number of “war-affected” persons
The number of “war-affected” persons is, according to the US Agency for International Development and other international aid agencies, 2.2 million:
“Describing the humanitarian and human rights crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region as being ‘of extraordinary gravity, magnitude and urgency,’ the United Nations, donor countries and aid agencies today wrapped up a meeting by appealing for at least $236 million to help an estimated 2.2 million victims of the war and forced ethnic displacement.” (UN News Centre, June 3, 2004)
This finding confirms an earlier finding by the Office of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Khartoum:
“According to the Office of the U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (UN RC) in Khartoum, as of May 1, there are now more than 2 million conflict-affected persons in Darfur compared to 1.1 million in April (US AID “Darfur—Humanitarian Emergency,” May 21, 2004 fact sheet)
“War-affected” has no formalized meaning, but what conversations with UN, US, and other aid officials suggest is that this is the population at risk from dying of the consequences of violence, displacement, famine, and disease. It is the base-line number for the “US AID Mortality Rates.” 2.2 million is approximately one third of Darfur’s estimated population of 6.5 million. It is the number—along with the 200,000 refugees in Chad—that must define the requirements of humanitarian aid for a very extended period of time.
For it cannot be stressed too often that the African peoples of Darfur, overwhelmingly the victims in this genocidal conflict, are primarily agriculturalists. And not only has there been no spring planting, and thus no fall harvest, the likelihood of a fall/winter planting grows more and more remote. These deeply traumatized populations, described by senior aid officials as some of the most fearful they have encountered in their careers, will not return to the rural countryside to resume their farming lives without security, without fear of further attacks by the Janjaweed.
But such security is nowhere on the horizon; indeed, all reports suggest continuing and unconstrained violence by the Janjaweed militia, as well as continuing attacks by Khartoum’s military aircraft. In addition to two aerial attacks on Thabit (near El Fasher, capital of North Darfur) on May 28, 2004 and June 4, 2004, Khartoum also reportedly attacked insurgency forces from the air “in the area around Kiro, approximately 30 kilometers north of Geneina in West Darfur” on June 7 and 8, 2004 (US AID “Darfur—Humanitarian Emergency,” June 10, 2004 fact sheet).
Further, the US Agency for International Development, informed by US intelligence assets, reports that:
“armed Janjawid militia were continuing to attack civilians in all three states of Darfur and that killings, rapes, beatings, looting and burning of homes were still being reported. In Northern Darfur State, attacks on villages had only decreased because ‘a significant number’ of villages had already been destroyed, while attacks on camps for internally displaced persons were continuing.” (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, June 1, 2004)
Such blatant and serious violations of the now merely notional April 8, 2004 cease-fire not only make clear the gross inadequacies of the African Union monitoring force deployed this week, but also strongly suggest that displaced African agriculturalists will not return to their homes for a long period of time. The consequences of a prolonged lack of agricultural production will be disastrous, leaving an ever-larger population of “war-affected.” Moreover, the duration of the period in which affected populations will be dependent upon humanitarian assistance also extends. These “war-affected” people may require food aid for as long as 18 months. This has enormous implications for humanitarian planning and any assessment of transport capacity (see below).
 Camp populations
[a] In Darfur
The number of displaced persons in Darfur who are in camps, with or without humanitarian access, can only be guessed. Many humanitarian workers estimate that something over half the total displaced population of 1.1 million are in camps of some form. This suggests a total camp population of 600,000 to 700,000 for all of Darfur. On the basis of claims by aid organizations, roughly half these camp populations have humanitarian access. But the meaning of such “access” must be regarded with considerable skepticism.
We must note first that access in Darfur, given the severe travel restrictions still in place, is first and foremost an ominous sign of large concentrations of people. We are not speaking of access to people to where they live, or to nearby villages and smaller towns, but to camps in larger urban areas to which people have been forced—concentrated in very large numbers by circumstance and by violent coercion. This deliberate policy on Khartoum’s part has the effect of taking the targeted African populations out of the conflict as a source of manpower, food, or intelligence; it also makes them dependent upon international aid, as they can no longer be agriculturally productive. The purpose of this genocidal tactic is to leave the insurgency forces to starve in the rural areas (this is likely to produce more hijackings of humanitarian aid delivered by truck convoy).
Moreover, sometimes access is granted by Khartoum, only to be subsequently denied—sometimes violently or forcefully, as at the Intifada Camp outside Nyala (see January report, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres:
And most importantly, access will mean little if there are no food or medical supplies. All reports from the ground in Darfur indicate that not nearly enough of either has been prepositioned, even as the rains have now begun. Nor will transport capacity for 2.2 million people for as long as 18 months be adequate (see analysis below). To be sure, transport requirements will decline with the famine and accompanying epidemics: as people die, they will no longer need food, and the total food requirements will diminish. But there will too likely be many more to replace them.
What is most troubling about an estimate of humanitarian access to roughly half the camp populations is that this implies roughly half are inaccessible. In other words, as many as 300,000 to 400,000 are in camps that to which there is no humanitarian access, no human rights monitoring, no reporting of any kind. The Kailek concentration camp (south of Kass in South Darfur State) was one such camp, to which an intrepid UN inter-agency investigative team finally forced access in April 2004. This will likely by the last time the UN or other investigators gain such access, given the nature of ensuing report, which found a “strategy of systematic and deliberate starvation,” “imprisonment,” a “policy of forced starvation,” an unreported “child mortality rate of 8-9 per day,” and the continued obstruction of humanitarian aid for this critically distressed, forcibly confined population.
(“Report: A United Nations Inter-Agency fact-finding and humanitarian needs assessment mission, Kailek, South Darfur, 24 April 2004”)
The investigation of Kailek generated, on the part of professional humanitarian aid workers, explicit comparison to Rwanda:
“We are sure that the team would have learned more about the crimes committed against civilians in the region had it been granted wider access to the areas of conflict. The stories that we have received from the survivors of the acts of mass murder are very painful for us and they remind us of the brutalities of the Rwanda genocide.”
(“Report: A United Nations Inter-Agency fact-finding and humanitarian needs assessment mission, Kailek, South Darfur, 24 April 2004”)
The inescapable inference is that there are many, many Kaileks—remaining invisible, inaccessible, collectively what this writer has described as an “African Auschwitz” (May 12, 2004 analysis; available upon request).
[b] In Chad
With obvious but misplaced pride, the UN High Commission for Refugees announced earlier this week that:
“Nearly 90,000 Sudanese refugees have now been moved into our eight camps away from the Chad-Sudan border.” (UNCHR Press Release, June 8, 2004)
What went unstated was that whereas this represented 80% of the stale figure of 110,000 Darfurian refugees in Chad, it represents only 45% of the more accurate figure of 200,000 refugees (see above). More than 100,000 refugees in Chad remain extremely vulnerable and without relief along the very lengthy border areas. Again the comments of Jean-Charles Dei, deputy director of the UN World Food Programme in Chad, on the fate of refugees along the Chad/Sudan Border:
“[Dei] said the rains would also bring inevitable outbreaks of disease, including cholera and measles. ‘There will be a tragedy if nothing happens. [ ] I don’t think any of the children under the age of five will make it, and the pregnant women too. For those who are under five there is no chance. They will die from starvation.'” (The Scotsman [dateline: Chad/Darfur border], June 10, 2004)
And again the condition of these camps in Chad as recently assessed by Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF):
“[According to MSF], malnutrition inside the refugee camps is actually worse than outside because they are so overcrowded. Sanitation facilities in most of the camps were also ‘totally inadequate,’ said the agency last week.
In one camp there was one latrine per 400 refugees. ‘This is 20 times greater than the international standard of a maximum of 20 people per latrine. It’s absolutely unacceptable.’ Although UNHCR and international NGOs had had teams on the ground in Chad for months, progress had been ‘painfully slow’ as the crisis escalated, said MSF, noting that sufficient shelter, food and water had not been organised, and that some of the camps were filled to double their capacity.”
(UN Integrated Regional Information Networks [Nairobi] May 21, 2004)
In Chad there have been no restrictions by Khartoum, though the regime has clearly sanctioned cross-border raiding by the Janjaweed—some to very considerable depths. There have also been numerous military provocations of Chad by Khartoum’s regular military forces, including by means of aerial military assets.
It must also be noted in fairness that the international community has failed to fund refugee operations for this desperate population. European funding commitments at the recently concluded donors conference in Geneva were particularly disappointing.
 Humanitarian requirements/humanitarian capacity
A survey of humanitarian logisticians indicates that food requirements for the war-affected populations of Darfur are approximately 16,000 metric tons per month per million people (some estimates were in the range of 15,000 metric tons, one estimate was 17,500). The total food requirement for 2.2 million people is thus approximately 35,000 metric tons per month. During the four remaining months of the rainy season, assuming (unreasonably) that the war-affected population does not increase, the food required will be approximately 140,000 tons. This of course does not include medical supplies, shelter, humanitarian personnel and their requirements. Nor does it take account of the logistical difficulties in providing an appropriate mix of food: ideally a minimum of 530 grams per person per day, comprising 450 grams of cereals (85%), 50 grams of pulses (9%), and 30 grams of oil (6%).
Since agricultural production has ceased in Darfur because of the insecurity created by Khartoum’s Janjaweed militias, the figure of 35,000 metric tons per month, plus medical and shelter supplies, must be extended for the foreseeable future.
What happens when we examine these needs in the context of current humanitarian capacity? Especially with the road corridors from Chad to Darfur already partially severed and soon to be severed entirely?
The gross mismatch between capacity and planned delivery suggests how terribly consequential previous humanitarian interference has been and how immensely destructive continuing interference will be in the months to come. And even planned delivery seems excessively, which is to say fatally, optimistic.
The UN World Food Program “plans” to move “approximately 52,000 metric tons of commodities to Darfur to meet the needs of approximately 1 million beneficiaries from June to August” (US AID “Darfur—Humanitarian Emergency,” June 4, 2004 fact sheet). But 52,000 metric tons represents only half what is required for 2.2 million people now described by the UN, the US, and the European Union as “victims of the war and forced ethnic displacement” (UN News Centre, June 3, 2004). What about the other 1.1 million people? Are they simply to wait their turn? “Waiting” in Darfur is a death sentence. What has gone wrong with the planning here? And what if the “plans” to move 52,000 tons go awry in ways all too predictable? What if real or Khartoum-contrived security issues delay these “plans”? Will more hundreds of thousands of people have to “wait”? Other capacity issues loom, as Refugees International reported last week:
“Khartoum was continuing to place obstacles in the way of agencies seeking to respond to the Darfur crisis by requiring relief supplies to be transported on Sudanese trucks and distributed by Sudanese agencies.”
(UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, June 1, 2004)
And as US AID also very recently reported:
“The primary constraints to full food distributions continue to be transportation and access. At present, the Government of Sudan has not allowed the UN World Food Program to tender contracts from foreign trucking companies, insisting that WFP use local transporters that often have limited capacity [ ]. Additionally, WFP reports that 30% of distribution locations remain inaccessible.” (US AID “Darfur—Humanitarian Emergency,” June 10, 2004 fact sheet)
But is even non-Sudanese overland trucking capacity remotely adequate to the task at hand? US AID reports more recently that:
“50 long-bed trucks arrived from Chad to Geneina (West Darfur) this week. This will bring the World Food Programs’ dedicated trucking fleet from 90 to 140 trucks. The monthly distribution capacity of this dedicated fleet is 8,000 metric tons, enough food for approximately 500,000 beneficiaries.”
(US AID “Darfur—Humanitarian Emergency,” June 10, 2004 fact sheet).
Again, this speaks only of food, not medical or shelter supplies—and yet is woefully inadequate to humanitarian needs. Moreover, something of the logistical complexity of the trucking operation can be gathered from other highlighted items in this most recent US AID “fact sheet” (this focuses only on the problems in West Darfur; North Darfur and South Darfur present similarly complex logistical and capacity challenges):
“Before the heavy rains in mid-July, the World Food Program [WFP] expects to have already completed July distributions [for West Darfur]. However, WFP’s main implementing partner, Save the Children-US (SC-US), reports a need to pre-position and/or distribute food for August as well. Approximately 70,000 beneficiaries in areas southwest of Geneina could be completely inaccessible by road from mid-July to mid-September, and the Nyala-Geneina road could be impassable for days at a time during that period.”
“According to the US AID/DART, WFP does not appear to have sufficient capacity at present to pre-position three months’-worth of rations in West Darfur. Monthly food requirements in West Darfur are approximately 4,500 metric tons. To date, WFP has only 500 metric tons of food stockpiled in Geneina, and while WFP continues to urge truckers to move quickly, security incidents on the key roads been Ed Da’ein and Nyala will likely affect truckers’ willingness to travel unescorted, or without security guarantees from the UN.”
“Transporting sufficient quantities of food to Nyala, and then on to West Darfur, has been a significant challenge for WFP. Food monitors for SC-US waited in Foro Burunga, West Darfur, for two weeks for WFP to deliver the May rations, which were to be distributed on June 4 and 6, but the quantities were not sufficient and some commodities were missing.”
(US AID “Darfur—Humanitarian Emergency,” June 10, 2004 fact sheet)
Other highly consequential logistical and transport capacity problems abound; more yet will be encountered during the difficult rainy season ahead.
We don’t need all the statistical details to see that there is a gross mismatch between humanitarian need and humanitarian capacity and access. This mismatch will only become more severe, and fatally consequential, as the full effects of the rains are felt within the next month. Contemplating how humanitarian needs can be met for as long as 18 months, with continuing violence and insecurity, and in the face of Khartoum’s relentless obstructionism, we must accept the reality that many hundreds of thousands of human beings are at acute risk of perishing. The death toll among children under five will be shockingly high—a huge percentage of casualties that will now inevitably exceed a third of a million human beings.
No improvement in humanitarian planning, no practicable augmenting of trucking or airlift capacity, no belated granting of full access by Khartoum can enable an appropriate response to this catastrophe. Deliberately engineered to destroy the African peoples of Darfur, this genocide cannot be stopped, only mitigated. Khartoum has simply been too successful in “deliberately inflicting on these [African] groups conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction in whole or in part” (1949 UN Genocide Convention).
Humanitarian intervention is all that can now respond meaningfully to the crisis and mitigate Khartoum’s genocidal destruction. The capacity of the rail line running from Port Sudan, through Khartoum, and on to Nyala (South Darfur) would clearly be adequate if seized, urgently repaired, and internationalized for humanitarian purposes. Certainly the Khartoum regime, once engaged in a policy of genocide, has completely foregone any claim to “national sovereignty.”
The issue now is not the legitimacy of humanitarian intervention but the overwhelming need of those who will suffer and die because of genocide. The question any moral clarity must force is whether the UN, or a non-UN multilateral humanitarian military force, will create the necessary transport capacity for all humanitarian supplies—food, medicine, and shelter. Beyond this, such a force must fully secure all the camps in Darfur, those to which access has been granted and those presently beyond reach of all aid. Moreover, security must be re-established in the rural areas if agricultural production is to resume and these African Darfurians are again to become self-sustaining.
Finally, an international tribunal must hold accountable those responsible for genocide in Darfur. Those within the National Islamic Front regime, within the Sudanese armed forces, and within the Janjaweed command must be tried and brought face to face to face with their victims. Justice, however belated and woefully inadequate, must be meted out to the genocidaires.
Though the data of genocide may be quantified, the evil behind it cannot. But such evil must nonetheless be recognized, combated, and made an indelible part of our historical understanding, forcing us always to see our capacity for failure. For we are failing Darfur in all ways…in all ways.
[END PART II]
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