KHARTOUM, Sudan, March 23 (UPI) -- The lives of millions of displaced people in the Darfur region of Sudan have been endangered by a move to expel aid workers from the country, observers say.
The groups were banned this month by Sudanese President Omar Hassan Bashir, who accused them of cooperating with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, which issued an arrest warrant for him on charges of triggering a genocide in rebellious Darfur.
Khartoum said local aid groups and government agencies will fill the gap and that U.N. agencies still operating in Darfur will make sure there will be no widespread water and food shortages. But with the $1 billion-per-year foreign aid operations slowing, doubts remain about how the destitute Darfuris will survive, The New York Times reported Monday.
Refugees said diseases have become common in the sprawling camps as living conditions deteriorate, with anti-government protests happening in some of them. Sudanese sources told the Times tensions were rising in Kalma, which has about 90,000 refugees and is one of the biggest camps.
The United Nations told the Times it is trying to pick up the slack left by the exits of such aid organizations as Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam Great Britain.