Sudan: The Food Weapon

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April 21,2008: UNAMID (African Union-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur) is still moving slowly into Darfur, with only 10,600 of the 26,000 peacekeepers arrived so far. Transport is their biggest problem, as it is for the food aid program. Apparently, Sudan plans to keep the peacekeepers distracted guarding the food convoys that keep two million Darfur refugees alive.

April 20, 2008: Logistics, logistics, logistics. Any sustained military operation requires steady and reliable supply acquisition and delivery. The same applies to massive refugee operations. The Grand Sahel (the sub-Saharan weather zone running from Africa's west coast on to Ethiopia) is a supply officer's nightmare. Roads are few, seaports distant, and there are plenty of bandits who sometimes are guerrillas and sometimes the national army as well. Vulnerable supply lines are one of the big problems in Darfur and to a lesser extent in south Sudan. Everyone knows it, especially the UN's World Food Program (WFP). In mid-April the WFP announced that it must cut rations for refugees in Darfur because of attacks on relief convoys. This is dangerous duty. According to the UN report, between January 1 and the first two weeks of April, 60 WFP relief trucks running rations in Darfur have been hijacked. Of those 60 trucks, 39 have not been recovered and 26 of the drivers are missing. The WFP estimates that it needs to deliver 1800 metric tons of food a day into Darfur supply dumps before the rainy season begins. Approximately half that amount is being delivered. Filching sixty trucks and inciting fear is only part of the story. Darfur lacks roads and most of the roads are inadequate; they certainly aren't capable of supporting heavy vehicle convoy traffic on a daily basis. (Austin Bay)

April 18, 2008: The UN announced that it will move 5400 Sudanese Darfur refugees to camps in Chad. The move is an attempt to get the refugees away from the fighting occurring on the Sudan-Chad border.

Gambia announced that a second contingent of 14 police officers is now deploying to Darfur to serve with UNAMID peacekeepers. Gambia already has 100 policemen assigned to the UN force.

April 16, 2008: Earlier this month actor George Clooney donated $5.6 million to the UN to help purchase helicopters. Good for Mr. Clooney.

 

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