Jan Egeland, the UN undersecretary on humanitarian affairs, has been the most passionate and persistent voice on the global stage talking about the situation in Darfur. In an interview with the UN’s IRIN news service, he clears up a couple of interesting misconceptions about the situation in Darfur. A few points I found interesting:
– He believes the current aid problems are financial ones, not access ones. Aid workers are helping over 800,000 people and are able to reach most of the people who need help, so access is a less serious issue than when Andrew Natsios challenged the Khartoum government.
– While the US, UK and a couple of EU states have stepped to the plate, contributing meaningfully to the relief efforts, most EU and AU nations have not, and the oil-rich Arab states have done nothing.
– While there’s been speculation that the attacks by Janjawid have been motivated by a desire to claim land, many of the villages attacked have been destroyed entirely. In many cases, corpses of farm animals have been dumped in wells, rendering those wells useless and the villages uninhabitable.