Darfur Refugees Face New Hardships

Refugee camps in Sudan's Darfur region are underfunded and desperately in need of supplies. Carlos Veloso, The World Food Program's Emergency Coordinator for the region, talks with Renee Montagne about camp life.

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This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm John Ydstie.


And I'm Renee Montagne.

Talks on the crisis in the Sudanese region of Darfur are continuing in the capital of Nigeria. Joining us now to talk about the challenges that the World Food Programme faces in the region is Carlos Veloso. He is the program's emergency coordinator for Darfur. Hello.

Mr. CARLOS VELOSO (Emergency Coordinator, World Food Programme): Hello. Good morning.

MONTAGNE: This past week, the World Food Programme announced that rations would be cut quite dramatically because there wasn't enough money to pay for them, basically, from donors. What would a person in a camp, now, with this cut in rations, get as a meal?

Mr. VELOSO: We give a basket of food for a month: 2,200 calories per day. We have cut the rations to 1,053 calories per day. This is 46 percent of what we're supposed to be delivering

MONTAGNE: Tell us about a camp that you visited recently in the Darfur region; paint us a picture, if you would, of what it's like to live there.

Mr. VELOSO: Well, to live there, it's people that have left their villages, and they go to these gatherings looking for safety and security. The huts, they are not exactly the same ones that they have in their villages. They are smaller, built with wood and sticks they can found around the camp. They are covered normally with plastic sheeting given by the humanitarian organizations. Women, normally, are in charge of going to collect the firewood and the water. The kids can go to the schools, but the schools, they are overcrowded in the camps. And the men, they try to find some labor, or, otherwise, they help with the animals if they have or in the small things around the camp.

MONTAGNE: And they're--they're very large camps, right?

Mr. VELOSO: You can have camps from the size of 2,000 people to the size of 100--110,000 people.

MONTAGNE: Are people in the camps aware that there are peace talks going on in Nigeria?

Mr. VELOSO: Yes, yes. They are aware and even in the last weeks there have been some demonstrations in camps in support with peace talks in Abuja.

MONTAGNE: Mr. Veloso, thank you very much for talking with us.

Mr. VELOSO: Thank you.

MONTAGNE: Carlos Veloso is the Emergency Coordinator with the World Food Programme for Darfur.

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