Over 7,600 aid workers receive expulsion orders from Sudan

March 11th, 2009 - 7:49 am ICT by IANS  

Geneva, March 11 (DPA) A total of 7,610 aid workers have now been ordered to leave northern Sudan in response to the international arrest warrant issued against the country’s president last week, the UN said Tuesday.
Around 1.5 million people in war-torn Darfur depend on aid workers for health services which now face disruption, whilst 1.1 million people would no longer receive vital food aid and over 1.15 million people may lose access to safe drinking water.

Of particular concern is a meningitis outbreak in a refugee camp, which the French section of Doctors Without Borders was treating.

That group was among the 13 foreign organisations expelled and three local Sudanese agencies that were also shut down, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

Also affected would be emergency shelter programmes, which, if not reinstated, would also have negative health implications for hundreds of thousands of Sudanese people.

Last week, the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity, relating to the counterinsurgency in Darfur, in the western part of the largest African country.

The 16 groups affected accounted for 40 percent of all aid work in Darfur, or 6,500 humanitarian staff.

The UN and the government in Khartoum have agreed to carry out assessments to gauge the humanitarian needs in the conflict affected region.

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