US SAYS DARFUR SITUATION IS WORSENING


The United States said on Monday its diplomats had found worsening conditions, including water shortages, at camps for displaced people in Darfur and urged Khartoum to reverse a decision to expel 13 aid groups.

The State Department repeated it would hold Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir responsible for each death caused by the expulsion of the major aid groups this month.

The U.S. Embassy’s charge d’affaires in Khartoum, Alberto Fernandez, and officials from the U.S. Agency for International Development, traveled over the past week to El Fasher in northern Darfur and visited the Zam Zam camp to get a first-hand look at the impact of the expulsions, the department said.

“This crisis has been exacerbated by the March 4 and 5 expulsions,” concluded the department, providing details of the trip by Fernandez and other U.S. officials.

The U.S. officials found resources, particularly water, at Zam Zam had been further strained by the recent arrival of 36,000 people fleeing fighting in the past two months between armed groups and the Sudanese government in Darfur.

The conflict in Darfur, which has displaced more than 2.7 million people, flared when mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against the government in 2003. International experts say at least 200,000 people have been killed in Sudan’s western Darfur region. Bashir’s government says 10,000 have died.

The State Department said the United Nations and remaining NGOs were looking at how to provide assistance to fill the gap created by the departing aid agencies, and said Sudan must help too.

SOURCED FROM REUTERS

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