Aid Groups and Media Misconstrue Improvements in Darfur
(posted on behalf of Gerbert van der Aa, a Dutch historian and journalist who specializes in Africa north of the equator. Van der Aa has been visiting Sudan regularly since 1994 and is currently writing a book on the country.)
I was in Darfur in May to work on a book. I was really shocked to see that the situation on the ground is much better than what we are made to believe by aid organizations and many Western media. According to the UN, malnutrition rates are half of what they were in 2003 and most people in Darfur now have access to clean drinking water. Also, violence is much less than three years ago.
Meanwhile, some British aid organisations, like Oxfam and Save the Children, claimed last month that the violence in Darfur is getting worse every day. This is just not true. Only violence against aid organisations is growing. Rebels and robbers especially like to steal their nice 4WD cars, which sell for a good price in neighboring Chad and other Sahara countries.
Why do aid organizations and the press not tell the truth: that the situation in Darfur is improving—but that a lot of help is still needed for the 2 million refugees.