2005/03/14

Darfur Mortality Update & Impending Famine

Building on eleven previous assessments of global mortality in Darfur, this analysis finds that approximately 380,000 human beings have died as a result of the conflict that erupted in February 2003, and that the current conflict-related mortality rate in the larger humanitarian theater is approximately 15,000 deaths per month. This monthly rate is poised to grow rapidly in light of famine conditions now obtaining in various parts of rural Darfur and threatening the entire region. Badly weakened populations are increasingly vulnerable to the effects of disease and malnutrition, ensuring that a recent decline in mortality rates within more accessible camp areas will not continue. Indeed, the huge disparity between humanitarian need and humanitarian capacity strongly suggests that gross mortality in the coming "hunger gap" (April/May through September) and its aftermath will be measured in the hundreds of thousands lives lost, disproportionately children under five.

Hunger gap: The period of time between spring/early summer planting and fall harvest. This period also largely coincides with the rainy season that paralyzes transport for much of Darfur, cutting off large parts of the population, as was the case during the rainy season of last year. A more realistic assessment of the food crisis suggests that between 3 million and 4 million people will be affected by Khartoum’s engineered famine. Hundreds of thousands of people will starve to death.

The situation on the ground shows a number of negative trends, which have been developing since the last quarter of 2004: deteriorating security; a credible threat of famine; mounting civilian casualties; the ceasefire in shambles; the negotiation process at a standstill; the rebel movements beginning to splinter, and new armed movements appearing in Darfur and neighbouring states. Chaos and a culture of impunity are taking root in the region.

Within this "chaos" and "culture of impunity," Khartoum's relentlessly efficient engine of human destruction continues to race. It daily becomes more likely that the final toll from genocide in Darfur will eventually exceed the 800,000 who died in Rwanda's genocide of 1994..

In addition to the clear indications of impending famine (see "Engineered Famine: Khartoum's Weapon of Genocidal Mass Destruction" there are a number of deeply ominous signs that mortality from disease and malnutrition is set to increase dramatically.

Although the early stages of the Darfur situation received more news coverage than the Rwanda genocide did, at some level the Western governments are still approaching it with the same lack of priority. In the end, it receives the same intuitive reaction: "What's in it for us? Is it in our 'national' interest?"

The United Nations, emasculated by the self-interested maneuverings of the five permanent members of the Security Council, fails to intervene. Powerful nations like the United States and Britain have lost much of their credibility because of the quagmire of Iraq.

Sudan is a huge country with a harsh terrain and a population unlikely to welcome outside intervention. Still, I believe that a mixture of mobile African Union troops supported by NATO soldiers equipped with helicopters, remotely piloted vehicles, night-vision devices and long-range special forces could protect Darfur's displaced people in their camps and remaining villages, and eliminate or incarcerate the Janjaweed.

If NATO is unable to act adequately, manpower could perhaps come individually from the so-called middle nations - countries like Germany and Canada that have more political leeway and often more credibility in the developing world than the Security Council members. Romeo Dallaire


Sudan on Monday rejected international pressure over its strife-torn Darfur region at a meeting of the UN Commission on human rights, warning any move to criticise it at its annual session here could backfire.

"Unmeasured, uneven and unbalanced pressure and signals have exacerbated the already volatile situation in Darfur," Sudan's Justice Minister Ali Yassine said in a speech to the 53-strong committee which began its 61st annual session here on Monday.
"Any undue pressure on the government of national unity will retard its ability to implement the comprehensive peace agreement. This in turn will impede the benefits of peace from reaching the Sudanese people. Let us give peace in the Sudan a positive environment in which to take root".

How in the hell do you deal with someone like this? What kind of statement is that? When men have no heart you must reach them another way. I fear nothing at all is going to be done and people are just waiting for it to be over so they don't have to think about it anymore. Who cares about these people anyway? I mean really?

The Sudanese government has an english version of their website here. At the bottom of the page in tiny print is an email address if you think you can get through to someone. ministers@sudanmail.net

Human Rights Watch Emergency Appeal
Darfur: A Genocide We Can Stop

7 Comments:

According to the Bush administration and that damn U.N, there was no crisis is u.n. Forgive my conservatism, but has anyone has of Rwanda.

The Young Liberals  

Posted by chrisbilal
3/15/2005 02:05:00 am  
I am happy to see that tehera re actually people trying to do something about Darfur. I was living in Rwanda in 1994, and I remember quite clearly that it was the USA that blocked action of the UN in Rwanda, and encouraged troops to be reduced! So when I hear people blaming it all on the UN, it just drives me crazy!!! I mean I love Clinton, but on that he dropped the ball, and it was probably because America's Foreign policy people would not let him, as they were afraid of a repeat of Somalia. But do not blame everything on the UN. They tried, and were not given the resources. If there was more fairness in the Security Council, maybe we could avoid such catastrophes. 

Posted by TheMalau
3/15/2005 03:14:00 am  
TheMalau,

So when I hear people blaming it all on the UN, it just drives me crazy ”

You're exactly right here, and ppl tend to forget the UN is not a self running autonomous entity, it is the sum of the countries which are members of it. So when we say "the UN didn't do what should have been done", it means ALL or some of us "didn't do what should have been done", i.e France, UK, Germany, USA, etc etc.

And the few members of the Security Council, i.e. those that have the power of veto, are even more responsible than the others when something urgent needs to be done and they block it. 

Posted by WhyNot
3/15/2005 05:03:00 am  
Dianne,

I'm still studying the links in order to get a reasonably accurate picture of what's going on there, but from what I see so far, it looks like a replica of Rwanda a decade or so ago.

I saw an extensive documentary on Rwanda, made by a small bunch of French film makers, and that was pretty damning against the Fr (and really most other western) government. To the extent that ministers and other gov officials challenged the filmmaker to a debate on national television.

If I remember right, when the masscare of Hutus started brewing, there were UN forces there, French, Belgium, Canada, US in particular. A Canadian general was in charge and several times called on the UN's NY head office to get permission to engage military action in view of what he clearly saw was going to turn into a massive genocide.

But he never got the ok. Worse still, UN troops were ordered to pull out. The French ones were the last to go, and it was absolutely disgusting to see the hundreds of thousands of ppl about to be hacked to pieces begging on their knees for the French troops to save them, but they were not authorized by Paris or New York. Some unofficial undecover rescues by the French military managed to fly 40,000-odd Hutus out of there, but the main point is that the French gov clearly didn't want to have an officially approved military operation to stop the genocide.

And that stinks.

Oh and for the UN bashers out there, what it means is that each of your respective governments was a lame piece of selfish shit for not giving the UN the go ahead to do something. So go clean your own asshole instead of conveniently blaming the UN for your bad smell. 

Posted by WhyNot
3/15/2005 05:25:00 am  
"If there was more fairness in the Security Council, maybe we could avoid such catastrophes "

I don't know enough to pass a sound judgment, but my feeling is there should be NO security council, and all UN resolutions should be passed or refused according to the votes of all members. This club of 5 looks to me like a good recipe for wheelings and dealings among the few priviledged self anointed "keepers of the flame". And frankly, when you look at their records, how dare they? There are dozens of countries with human rights records hundreds of times better than France or the USA.

Anyway... as I said... it's just my feeling/impression. 

Posted by WhyNot
3/15/2005 05:37:00 am  
"I mean I love Clinton, but on that he dropped the ball, and it was probably because America's Foreign policy people would not let him, as they were afraid of a repeat of Somalia. "

In an interview with Ted Koppel Gen. Dallaire said this in reference to Somalia and it's effect on peacekeeping and Rwanda.

"Yes, the Somalia event which is now portrayed in "Black Hawk Down," which I have not seen and refuse to go see as it's totally out of context of what the scenario was and the complete story. The loss of those rangers and the injured ones created for the United States a phobia. A phobia that even though with 1.6 million people in uniform it was not capable of handling casualties in far-off lands where there was no strategic value, there was no objective, there was no self- interest. All there were human beings.

The reaction of the United States and particularly President Clinton did a massive revirement and by March produced a document called the Presidential Proposition 25, which essentially said that here are a whole bunch of criteria and if these criteria are not met we're not going in to help anybody, and turned to the General Assembly and said it's time that the UN starts saying no to these demands of humanitarian and security-related catastrophes."

 

Posted by Dianne
3/15/2005 12:04:00 pm  
"A Canadian general was in charge....  "

Your memory is correct and the Canadian general is the same Roméo Dallaire that I quoted in the latter part of the article.

"I saw an extensive documentary on Rwanda, made by a small bunch of French film makers, and that was pretty damning against the Fr (and really most other western) government."

In the same interview I mentioned earlier Koppel asked Gen. Dallaire if he could have stopped the genocide and he said..."We could have interfered. We could have wrested the initiative from the extremists. We could have pushed it to an area that maybe we could have influenced countries who had capabilities to come in and do things.

The ones I hold accountable for not understanding and not rising above self-interest to a level of humanity where every human counts and we're all the same are: the British, the French, and the Americans. Self-interest, political posturing, image dominated their decision processes in regard to Rwanda."
.

The interview can be found here . The blame is on all of us, every western nation. It doesn't make me feel better to think that perhaps 'another' country might have been guiltier than my own.

The point is also made that the media was getting the story but it wasn't being published by the networks and possibly because of racism. Because these people were black.

"Racism, the fundamental belief that exists that all people are not equal, is going to slaughter millions for years to come."

Gen. Dallaire has some interesting thoughts about the UN also. Read the interview. He puts a personal face on genocide that will stir you to want to take action. Prepare to weep.
 

Posted by Dianne
3/15/2005 12:58:00 pm  

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