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  • More news on deaths, injuries from Kalma IDP camp, South Darfur

     

    More news on deaths, injuries from Kalma IDP camp, South Darfur

    Eric Reeves  |  September 27, 2017  |  http://wp.me/p45rOG-26F

    Despite the mounting death toll from the murderous attack on peaceful, unarmed demonstrators at Kalma camp (September 22, 2017, South Darfur, near Nyala), the U.S. embassy in Khartoum has responded to the attack with an utterly shocking version of moral equivalence between the murderers and the protestors: "The United States calls on civilians who exercise their right to protest to do so peacefully and to avoid any physical confrontation with security forces." What "physical confrontation" by unarmed protestors, under the careful watch of men armed with automatic weapons, can possibly be invoked to mitigate the responsibility of al-Bashir's murderers in this case? The latest figures from Radio Dabanga (full dispatch below) give us a sense of how violent the response was by Khartoum's security forces, as ICC-indicted génocidaire Omar al-Bashir visited nearly Nyala:

    The death toll among the victims of the demonstration near Kalma camp for displaced people on Friday "has now reached nine as more people died due to bullet wounds sustained during the attack", according the Swiss Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre (DRDC). "The number of victims of injuries that currently need medical attention stands at over 30 people, some of them in critical health condition.

    One of the wounded from Kalma; it is unclear whether he survived this wound

    Is there no memory of the August 2008 attack that began early in the morning (6 am), before people were awake, and in which dozens were killed and scores wounded? [See The Wall Street Journal, September 6, 2008 | http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122065894281205691.html?mod=googlenews_wsj/]

    What "physical confrontation" was there at the time? Khartoum's murderous actions at Kalma are all too well documented over many years, and they include the denial of crucial humanitarian resources. Radio Dabanga reports as well on current confiscation of food and medicine bound for Kalma camp, which will certainly result in more malnutrition, illness, and deaths. There is simply no shared responsibility, as the U.S. embassy would have it. If there is blame to go around, UNAMID deserves its share for failing to heed the pleas for protection in advance of the demonstration (see | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/darfur-displaced-unamid-statement-on-kalma-biased/].

  • South Kordofan/Blue Nile Coordinating Unit Humanitarian Update | August 2017

     

    Inline image 1

    South Kordofan/Blue Nile Coordinating Unit Humanitarian Update | August 2017

    Overview

    SKBN CU Humanitarian Update August 2017

    [All emphases in bold have been added--ER]

     

    • Critical level of immediate and chronic malnutrition, well exceeding WHO emergency thresholds, were captured in a recent SMART survey in South Kordofan.SAM levels in the Western Jebels were up to 9.3%. It is clear that children are facing the harshest consequences of the protracted war.
    • Severe food insecurity reached 39% for households in Blue Nile in July, with 11% classified at highest possible level in the Household Hunger Scale.
    • Intra SPLA-N fighting continued in Blue Nile into August, displacing thousands. Several reports have confirmed death of civilians, including one aid worker, and loss of property.

    Flooding in both regions damaged crops and created additional displacements. Rains were particularly heavy in Blue Nile, where thousands were without shelter.

    Food Security and Agriculture

    South Kordofan

    The harvest season began in late August in many parts of South Kordofan, bringing some relief to the worst lean season since the beginning of the war. By the end of the month most households were harvesting green maize and certain vegetables, but the upcoming sorghum harvest will provide much greater food security throughout South Kordofan.

    Overall, rainfall increased compared to 2016, which should lead to better yields. The coming harvest will likely improve over the last year's, though will likely not match the ten-year average. Rainfall was sporadic during the growing season, with periods of abnormally low rainfall and episodes of flooding which damaged some crops.

    However, the effects of the 2017 lean season are not yet fully known. FSMU July monitoring data is now available and presents gradually worsening food security in the more populous Central Region since the previous assessment in April. In the Central Region 14% of households were severely food insecure [1], which represents a significant increase both from the previous quarter and from the same quarter last year. This has likely contributed to very high rates of stunting in the under-five child population, per a June 2017 SMART Survey. Stunting is an indicator of chronic malnutrition due to long term food deprivation, micronutrient deficiencies, and recurrent illness which interrupt normal growth and has a long-term impact on the affected child. Overall stunting rates were a staggering 38.3% for the population and severe stunting was 14.7%.[2]  Boys were more likely to be affected, and younger children showed higher rates, suggesting that recent years have been worse for the population.

    [1] FSMU July/August 2017 Food Security Brief

    [2] SKBN CU SMART Survey Report on file with SKBN CU and available upon request

     

    The Western Jebels faced a comparable situation, with qualitative sources suggesting a steady decrease in food security and the population facing a challenging situation. Stunting in children was similarly concerning with an overall prevalence of 33% and severe stunting at 12.9%. However, quantitative data on food security from the latest report is still being investigated by FSMU, per the last report.[3] 

    Coping strategies throughout the region were alarming in this lean season. There were reports throughout the season of hunger related displacements (into South Sudan, Government of Sudan regions, or within the two areas), sales of household items and productive livestock, and reliance on foraging and wild foods. In the central region, 75% of children who were identified as sick also were malnourished, suggesting poor access to nutrition was also contributing to illness and increasing risk of death.

    The highly invasive pest Fall Armyworm continues to spread north through South Sudan, reaching as far as Aweil recently. There are no reports of this spreading into South Kordofan, but the CU continues to monitor this threat as its impact on sorghum and maize crops could be devastating.

    Blue Nile

  • Yet Again, Kalma camp (South Darfur) for displaced persons is the scene of deadly violence by Khartoum’s security forces

     

    Yet Again, Kalma camp (South Darfur) for displaced persons is the scene of deadly violence by Khartoum's security forces

    Eric Reeves   |   September 22, 2017  |  http://wp.me/p45rOG-26t 

    Yet again, Kalma camp for displaced persons-just outside Nyala, capital of South Darfur, has been the scene of deadly violence by Khartoum's security forces-on this occasion, in connection with a speech my President and Genocidaire-in-Chief, Omar al-Bashir, who was speaking in Nyala.

    According to Radio Dabanga, al-Bashir "addressed a mass public rally in Nyala yesterday, where he spoke of the return of the displaced to their villages of origin, and encouraged the state to develop formal housing for those who are eligible." Predictably, al-Bashir made no mention of the many thousands of villages that have been destroyed by his army and militia forces-or the countless farms that have been violently expropriated by militia forces, some from outside Sudan (e.g., Chad, Niger, Mali).

    Nor did al-Bashir mention the intolerable insecurity in most of Darfur that faces those attempting to return to their lands: violence in the form of raping girls and women (see | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1QG/), murder, extortion, and further destruction of property are the norm (see | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1P4/)-and UNAMID's ongoing deployment out of Darfur ensures that insecurity in Darfur will only grow.

    It is at this moment that the Trump administration is making its final decision to lift sanctions on the al-Bashir regime permanently-this in the interests of securing putative counter-terrorism intelligence from men who could hardly be more dishonest, and will abandon all terms specified for the permanent lifting of sanctions, once the decision is announced. There is no meaningful provision for the re-imposition of sanctions, no matter how egregiously offensive Khartoum's behavior, in Darfur-or South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Despite the U.S. insistence on improved humanitarian access as a condition for lifting sanction, Khartoum maintains a humanitarian blockade on areas of the two regions controlled by the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army-North (SPLM/A-N).

    The violence at Kalma has many precedents (see especially my Wall Street Journal oped with Mia Farrow, below, on the terrible violence of August 2008; below the Radio Dabanga dispatch on the present Kalma violence). The international community seems not to care. The UN's World Health Organization refuses to label the disease that has taken hold in Kalma as cholera, even as that is clearly the case. This, too, is at Khartoum's behest, but WHO's silence represents despicable, and deadly, cowardice.

    Kalma is the emblem of Darfur, our clearest present picture of what the Khartoum regime has in store for the people of Darfur. And if the dismantling of camps such as Kalma-announced with emphatic insistence by the regime on a number of occasions-the final stage of the Darfur genocide will have begun.

    ******************************

    South Darfur camp protest turns deadly, UNAMID calls for restraint

  • The Washington Post on "Cholera in Sudan"

     

    "As the death toll climbs in Sudan, officials shy away from the ‘cholera' label,"     The Washington Post, September 14, 2017 | Glenn Kessler 

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/09/14/as-the-death-toll-climbs-in-sudan-officials-shy-away-from-the-cholera-label/?utm_term=.fe004aa1fbb7

     "As of July 7, health actors had recorded more than 23,200 cases of acute watery diarrhea (AWD) since August 2016, according to the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) and the Government of Sudan (GoS) Ministry of Health (MoH)."

    - U.S. Agency for International Development, fact sheet, July 27, 2017

    "The U.S. Embassy in Khartoum informs U.S. citizens that there are confirmed reports of cholera cases in some areas of Sudan, including the greater Khartoum metropolitan area, that have resulted in fatalities."

    - U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, emergency message, June 1

    United States Embassy Khartoum, Sudan | Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens: Confirmed Cases of Cholera in Sudan

    The U.S. Embassy in Khartoum informs U.S. citizens that there are confirmed reports of cholera cases in some areas of Sudan, including the greater Khartoum metropolitan area, that have resulted in fatalities. This is a reminder to follow hand hygiene practices, and to consume safe food and water. Those who will be far away from medical care should travel with oral rehydration salts (ORS) -at least 3 sachets- and water purification tablets or other devices for clean water.

    The State Department and USAID are related agencies, both reporting to the secretary of state, but there is an odd disconnect in how they have described a looming public health emergency in the African country of Sudan. The embassy declared that there were "confirmed reports" of cholera that have killed people, whereas USAID, citing the World Health Organization and the Sudanese government, said there were cases of "acute watery diarrhea," known in medical circles as AWD.

    What's going on here?

    The Facts

  • The UN’s World Health Organization Knows Cholera Vaccines Have Been Used Effectively: Why Not in Sudan?

     

    The UN's World Health Organization Knows Cholera Vaccines Have Been Used Effectively: Why Not in Sudan?

    Eric Reeves  |  September 9, 2017  |  http://wp.me/p45rOG-26m

    The UN's World Health Organization (WHO) continues in its refusal to call the cholera epidemic that has spread throughout Sudan by its proper name (cholera is caused by the Vibrio cholera bacterium, easily identified in WHO's Geneva laboratories).

    WHO remains silent, refusing either to confirm or disconfirm the existence of cholera in Sudan. Give the continual reporting, for a year now, by Radio Dabanga and Sudan Tribune, about the existence of a cholera epidemic, it is indisputably WHO's obligation to make a determination. From its silence we may infer two things:

    [1]  The ruthless Khartoum regime knows there is a "stigmatizing" cholera epidemic, which is why it threatens health workers and reporters who dare use the word cholera, and has also succeeded in intimidating the WHO into not using the word cholera in any way.

    [2]  But given the widespread reporting of cholera epidemic in Sudan, WHO would certainly use fecal samples from victims of what they insist on calling "acute watery diarrhea" to disconfirm the existence of cholera, if it possibly could. But it can't, so it maintains an unconscionable silence.

    Why is it important that cholera be named? There are many reasons, including the urgent deployment of medical equipment (primarily massive quantities of re-hydration supplies and cholera treatment medicines) and knowledgeable medical personnel (including infectious disease specialists and epidemiologists familiar with the patterns associated with a cholera epidemic).

    Critically, newly developed cholera vaccines could be used, particularly in populations most at risk (Kalma camp and Jebel Marra in Darfur, for example). But the vaccines won't be distributed unless the disease from which they offer protection is named. WHO itself recognizes the value of such vaccines:

    The UN World Health Organization on Cholera Vaccines:

    Cholera vaccines | http://www.who.int/topics/cholera/vaccines/en/

    In the long term, improvements in water supply, sanitation, food safety and community awareness of preventive measures are the best means of preventing cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases. However, WHO and partners are evaluating the use of newer tools to complement these traditional measures. Oral cholera vaccines of demonstrated safety and effectiveness have recently become available for use by individuals. Some countries have already used oral cholera vaccines to immunize populations considered to be at high risk for cholera outbreaks.

    Evidence gained on the use of oral cholera vaccines is evolving rapidly. Work is under way to investigate the role of mass vaccination as a public health strategy for protecting at risk populations against cholera. Issues being addressed include logistics, cost, timing, vaccine production capacity, and criteria for use of mass vaccination to contain and prevent outbreaks.

    · Potential use of oral cholera vaccines

    • Currently available oral cholera vaccines

    [Cholera vaccines are discussed in similar terms by the U.S. Center for Disease Control | https://www.cdc.gov/cholera/vaccines.html/]

    The refusal to name the cholera epidemic in Sudan by its proper name is costing more lives and creating more human suffering daily.

    Why won't the UN World Health Organization fulfill its explicit mandate?

    Our primary role is to direct and coordinate international health within the United Nations' system.

    Our goal is to build a better, healthier future for people all over the world. Working through offices in more than 150 countries, WHO staff work side by side with governments and other partners to ensure the highest attainable level of health for all people.

    Suffering from cholera, the people of Darfur and elsewhere in Sudan are unconscionably offered relentless silence by the UN's World Health Organization

    -- 

     

    Eric Reeves, Senior Fellow at Harvard University's François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights

     

    ereeves@smith.edu

    www.sudanreeves.org

    Twitter@SudanReeves

    About Eric Reeves: http://sudanreeves.org/about-eric-reeves

    Philanthropy: http://ericreeves-woodturner.com/woodturnings-available-for-purchase-dire

     

     

  • Update on Cholera in Darfur and Sudan Generally

     

    Eric Reeves | September 6, 2017   |  http://wp.me/p45rOG-26g

    For several months now I have "Tweeted" (@SudanReeves) regularly about the cholera epidemic as it has spread to Darfur (#CholeraInSudan or #Cholera_In_Sudan). Occasionally I have posted longer discussions of the disease crisis, which continues to be labeled as "Acute Watery Diarrhea" at Khartoum's insistence. The regime fears the stigma of using the accurate term, and the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) have regularly warned journalists and medical officials not to use the word "cholera." One journalist has been arrested for defying the ban, and one senior hospital official in Khartoum was removed from his position for declaring that the disease is in fact "cholera."

    Cholera isolation ward in Kalma camp, South Darfur

    Khartoum's insistence on the finally euphemistically general term "Acute Watery Diarrhea" has extended to the international community as well: no UN agency has defied Khartoum's description, even as the evidence of cholera is abundant, including laboratory tests conducted in Sudan. Scandalously, the UN's World Health Organization and Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs have both knuckled under to Khartoum's pressure. In turn, Onternational Nongovernmental Humanitarian Organization (INGOs) are silenced by the UN's refusal to speak the truth about cholera in Sudan: any organization using the word would be promptly expelled if it made the decision to speak out, given UN silence. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has been similarly silent on the realities of the cholera epidemic that has been sweeping across Sudan for over a year.

  • The Trump Administration Prepares the Way for Lifting Sanctions on Sudan

     

    Eric Reeves   |   August 30, 2017   |  http://wp.me/p45rOG-25Y

    The Trump administration-staffed by fools and arrogant blowhards, and without a functioning Africa Bureau at the State Department, or even an Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs-gives clear evidence of preparing the way for a permanent lifting of U.S. economic sanctions on the genocidal regime in Khartoum, even as that regime continues to deny in highly consequential ways humanitarian assistance to more than two million people in Sudan. This figure includes refugees from Darfur in eastern Chad), South Kordofan (primarily in South Sudan, and Blue Nile (primarily in Ethiopia); the number is much larger if we include Eastern Sudan, where the regime has proved relentless in expelling or excluding international humanitarian organizations-see Appendix A). The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs indicates that well over two million Sudanese suffer from "Acute Malnutrition"; figures from UNICEF for children under five suggest a malnutrition crisis much, much larger (see | "An Internal UNICEF Malnutrition Report on Sudan and Darfur: Why have these data been withheld?" | September 5, 2014 |  http://wp.me/p45rOG-1pL/).

    The latest evidence of a determination to lift sanctions comes in the form of an August 28, 2017 statement from Khartoum by Mark Green, Administrator for the US Agency for International Development (USAID):

    In particular, we are hoping to see progress on humanitarian access right here in North Darfur. We are at a critical point in Sudan. There is still a need for life-saving humanitarian assistance, and we hope to see a successful resolution to the conflicts in Darfur and the Two Areas.

    Today, I will be also visiting internally displaced people, people to whom USAID and its partners are giving critical assistance. I want to underscore-America will not walk away from our commitment to humanitarian assistance, and we will always stand with people everywhere when a disaster or humanitarian crisis strikes, for that is who we are as Americans.

    Pious, unctuous words in defending the indefensible decision that is now impending.

    Some of those from whom the U.S. is indeed "walking away from our commitment to humanitarian assistance"

    What was not said by Administrator Green:

  • Assaults on Camps for the Displaced in Darfur: History Makes Clear They Will Increase

     

    Eric Reeves   |   August 27, 2017   |   http://wp.me/p45rOG-25W

    Two headlines from Radio Dabanga today tell us a great deal about the future of camps for displaced persons inside Darfur. The UN Security Council resolution gutting theUN/African Union "hybrid" Mission in Darfur (June 30, 2017), along with the impending permanent lifting of U.S. economic sanctions on the NIF/NCP regime in Khartoum (October 2017), provide the backdrop for what will certainly be a dramatic increase in attacks by militia forces and regular Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) on camps for the displaced:

    · Darfur displaced commemorate 2008 ‘Kalma camp massacre' | Radio Dabanga | August 27, 2017 | NYALA | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/darfur-displaced-commemorate-2008-kalma-camp-massacre

    On Friday, thousands of displaced people commemorated the ninth anniversary of the ‘Kalma camp massacre.' In August 2008, a group of militiamen and members of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police (Abu Tira) raided Kalma camp for the displaced near Nyala, capital of South Darfur. (See below)

    • Militiamen surround South Darfur camp, shoot student | Radio Dabanga | August 27, 2017 | NIERTETI | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/militiamen-surround-south-darfur-camp-shoot-student

    A university student was shot at Nierteti's Northern Camp in Central Darfur on Thursday. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, a camp elder reported that militiamen began firing into the air over the Northern Nierteti Camp for the displaced on Thursday evening. "Abdelwahab Hasan Hamid was seriously hit by bullets, and had to be taken to Nyala for treatment," he said. The elder said that a large group of militants in vehicles and on motorcycles and horses began gathering north and west of the Nierteti Northern Camp since Sunday, after one of their colleagues went missing in the area.

    [The "missing man" explanation by the militia is pure pretext: "missing" men, or livestock, are constantly being used by militia forces as an excuse for extortion or violence against IDP, who would be far too fearful to hold either Arab men or livestock in camps-ER]

    International memory on such matters is short, but the first notable attack on an IDP camp in Darfur occurred at Aro Sharow in September 2005-twelve years ago. It was unusually well-reported, as I indicated in a dispatch at the time, citing the assessment of Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on Darfur (see "A Final Solution for Darfur: The View from Khartoum: Preserving the genocidal status quo works to consolidate NIF power," October 9, 2005 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-oG/):

    On 28 September 2005, just four days ago, some reportedly 400 Janjaweed Arab militia on camels and horseback went on the rampage in Aru Sharo, Acho and Gozmena villages in West Darfur. Our reports also indicate that the day previous, and indeed on the actual day of the attack, Government of Sudan helicopter gunships were observed overhead. This apparent coordinated land and air assault gives credence to the repeated claim by the rebel movements of collusion between the Government of Sudan forces and the Janjaweed/Arab militia. This incident, which was confirmed not only by our investigators but also by workers of humanitarian agencies and nongovernmental organizations in the area, took a heavy toll resulting in 32 people killed, 4 injured and 7 missing, and about 80 houses/shelters looted and set ablaze.

    The following day, a clearly premeditated and well-rehearsed combined operation was carried out by the Government of Sudan military and police at approximately 11am in the town of Tawilla and its Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in North Darfur. The Government of Sudan forces used approximately 41 trucks and 7 land cruisers in the operation which resulted in a number of deaths, massive displacement of civilians and the destruction of several houses in the surrounding areas as well as some tents in the IDP camps. Indeed, the remains of discharged explosive devices were found in the IDP camp. During the attack, thousands from the township and the IDP camp and many humanitarian workers were forced to seek refuge near the AU camp for personal safety and security. (Transcript of press conference by Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on Darfur, Khartoum, October 1, 2005) (emphases added)

    Many of the fires reported constantly in the camps are of an extremely suspicious nature; investigations of possible arson are never undertaken by the police, the army, or UNAMID

  • #Cholera_In_Sudan: An important dispatch from Radio Dabanga gives some sense of what is now exploding in Darfur

     

    Eric Reeves | August 22, 2017 |  http://wp.me/p45rOG-25S

    The National Islamic Front/National Congress Party in Khartoum is on the verge of securing a permanent lifting of U.S. economic and financial sanctions. This is so despite the failure of the regime to meet one of two key conditions laid down by the Obama administration in its perverse, last-minute decision to lift sanctions provisionally in January 2013: substantial improvement in humanitarian access. At the time, Obama administration UN Ambassador Samantha Power declared that there had been a "sea change of improvement" in humanitarian access: a preposterous and deeply destructively statement that was never corrected by Power herself or anyone else in the Obama administration in a position to do so. The State Department has confirmed to me directly that it has no idea what served as the basis for this claim, and that it did not represent realities in Sudan-either in Darfur or South Kordofan/Blue Nile.

    There has been none of the claimed "improvement" over the past seven months, nor signs that it will occur before the October 13, 2017 deadline for a final U.S. decision by the woefully under-staffed and ill-informed Trump administration. This is extraordinarily consequential in light of the cholera epidemic that began in Blue Nile State in August 2016 and has relatively recently reached the Darfur region.

    Vibrio cholerae is a bacterium that could be easily identified from fecal samples sent to UN WHO headquarters in Geneva

    A Radio Dabanga dispatch below, which makes clear that Khartoum still does not permit Sudanese journalists or medical officials to use the word "cholera," is ominous in the extreme, especially since the UN World Health Organization, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and the U.S. Agency for International Development have all been intimidated by Khartoum into using the euphemistic phrase "acute watery diarrhea" instead of "cholera." This is only one of the reasons there has not been a more urgent response, but it is central:

    "Nierteti's hospital faces gaps in medicines, including oral and intravenous re-hydration solutions [..]," OCHA stated. "In Zalingei hospital, there are several sanitation issues, including lack of latrines and evidence of improper solid waste management [..]."

    Suffering cholera patient; the disease can kill in under 24 hours if untreated; with treatment (primarily simple re-hydration) recovery is almost certain

  • Rewarding Policies that Starve Children in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan

     

    Eric Reeves | August 18, 2017 | http://wp.me/s45rOG-8046

    The National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime in Khartoum has continued for over six years with its brutal, immensely destructive humanitarian blockade of rebel-controlled areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. The results in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan have been devastating, and the poor harvests that seem likely this year because of weather conditions will make things much worse.

    Despite the continuation of the blockade, and despite "humanitarian access" as a key U.S. requirement for the permanent lifting of U.S. economic sanctions, the Trump administration-confused and easily strong-armed by the U.S. intelligence community-gives all signs of indeed lifting sanctions on Khartoum this coming October 13th, less than two months' time from now.

    To be sure, it was the Obama administration that began this accommodation of the regime's génocidaires, declaring in a preposterous and viciously expedient statement that there had been a "sea change" of improvement of humanitarian access in Sudan-including in this characterization of where "access" had improved both Darfur (where Khartoum continues to deny humanitarian access to roughly a third of the 3 million people the UN declares are in need of assistance) and South Kordofan.

    Obama administration ambassador to the UN Samantha Power preposterously declared (January 13, 2017) that there had been a "sea change" of improvement in humanitarian access in Sudan

    We learn how destructive the Obama administration's gross misrepresentation of access issues is in a piece from Bronwen Dachs, which appeared yesterday in The Boston Pilot; Dachs has worked as a reporter in Africa for Catholic News Service (CNS) for more than a quarter of a century.

    The entire dispatch appears below, but I highlight a moment that should bring the deepest shame to those members of the Obama administration who put in motion the move to reward Khartoum by initially lifting sanctions:

    "Here, I have shed tears watching emaciated women with babies on their backs being turned away when they get to the front of the long line because there is nothing left for them," Oliver Waindi, executive director of the Bishop Gassis Relief and Rescue Foundation, told CNS. "The suffering is as I imagine hell to be."

    "There are a lot of children dying here," Waindi said, noting that before the changed weather patterns of the past two years, "people had very little to eat, but now they have nothing at all."

    Nuba child dying of starvation

    Could there be a greater crime against humanity than to deny people in the most acute distress the most basic means of living? (See my discussion of this question in "On the Obstruction of Humanitarian Aid," African Studies ReviewVolume 54, Number 3 (December 2011), pages 165 - 74 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-I6/). And yet it continues, and all signs from U.S. diplomats and military/intelligence officials make clear that the decision will be to lift permanently sanctions on this heartless and cruel regime, one that remains on the State Department list of "state sponsors of international terrorism"-and with good reason (see | http://wp.me/p45rOG-220/).

    Khartoum's Ambitions in the Nuba Mountains