What impact does the security situation have on MSF work in Darfur

Do increasing security problems in Darfur have consequences on MSF aid operations?

BJ: "We are currently reaching the limits of our assistance. We do not have access to people who are directly affected by the conflict. In the areas where we operate, increasing insecurity leads to a diminution and interruptions in our activities, and jeopardizes the life of displaced families.

"Globally speaking, we are faced today with a significant reduction of the aid provided to displaced people in Darfur, which is due to several different reasons, one of them being insecurity. At the same time, its clear today that populations directly suffering from the conflict resumption do not get any assistance.

"Any independent evaluation of the people's needs, especially the war wounded people, is impossible. Our working space has become extremely restricted due to increasing insecurity issues, which affect populations as well as humanitarian workers.

"For the past two months, the lack of security on roads and the proliferation of attacks with different levels of violence (12 humanitarian workers have been killed since June 2006) question directly the aid provided to these captive populations, who are deliberately kept under total dependency.

"Today, the survival of populations in pockets where humanitarian assistance was still possible is jeopardized. Because of the lack of security, some of our operations in the field has been temporarily suspended, or continue with a smaller number of aid workers. Another consequence is that all our mobile medical activities, which target especially nomadic populations, had to stop."

What are the consequences on the populations?

DL: "The decreasing in the aid working space leads to immediate consequences on our patients, especially on those in need of significant surgical care. We can no longer carry these people to suitable medical facilities, because the lack of security has rendered the roads inaccessible. As a direct consequence of that lack of security on Darfur roads, now all our teams must fly instead of using roads.

"At the same time, the financial support given to aid actors is been reduced. The budget restrictions put a tool on the food distributions as much as on water distributions and on hospitals support. The health of displaced populations in Darfur, who live in pockets where until now assistance was possible, has remained acceptable only because the aid system has been able to provide effective answers to their needs for the past two years.

"These families find themselves in total dependency, given the fact that they are kept in a prison situation and deprived from all self sufficient mean of survival. Any decrease in aid will have direct consequences on their health. Our teams have already witnessed that situation in Mornay, where the population was faced with a cholera epidemic.

"In mid September, following a security incident, our teams had to evacuate the city of Kutrum, in the area of Jebel Marra, where a cholera epidemic had just broken out. For these populations totally deprived of assistance, a medical disaster is to be expected."