Violence in Darfur cuts off 355,000 people from food aid

Violence has prevented 355,000 people from getting food aid in the troubled western Sudanese region of Darfur in the past three months, the World Food Program (WFP) official said in a statement issued in Khartoum on Tuesday.

"Hundreds of thousands of people in Darfur have gone hungry for three consecutive months because fighting and banditry have prevented the WFP from reaching them," announced Kenro Oshidari, WFP's Representative in Sudan.

"Their situation is reaching a critical stage because the area has experienced a sharp increase in tensions since May when the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) was signed," the WFP official added.

He said that most of these people had very little chance of finding food elsewhere because the region was in "hunger season" right before the harvest.

"Without food aid, things will become more volatile," Oshidari said, adding that hunger would exacerbate the already precarious security situation.

"It will add fuel to the fire," Oshidari said. "Food aid is vital to stability."

In recent weeks, WFP and other aid groups have been warning that the region is reaching a critical state.

Nearly three million people in Darfur depend on international aid for food, shelter and medical treatment, but rising insecurity in many parts of the region has made it more difficult for aid workers to reach them.

Twelve humanitarian workers have been killed in Darfur since May, more than the total casualties of the two years before.

Source: Xinhua

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