Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Influx of foreign aid workers brings wealth to Darfur town

Amid the suffering engulfing much of Sudan, The Los Angeles Times reported on April 30 that one town, El Fasher, is seeing a rapid growth in prosperity.

“In stark contrast to the burned-out villages and squalid displacement camps that characterize much of Darfur,” says the article, “this dust-choked city is booming, thanks largely to an influx of scores of United Nations agencies and private charities, as well as the newly deployed U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission.”

The presence of foreign workers and companies provides life-changing opportunities for a lucky few. Muna Idriss, a 27-year-old who graduated from college five years ago, said that she would have been lucky to find a job scrubbing floors. Now she’s earning $750 a month as a U.N. security guard – enough to support her entire family, including siblings still in school and other family members living in displacement camps.

Yet ironically, the development of El Fasher is largely due to the fact that the region is suffering one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

Fadul, a rural planning engineer, says that the influx of foreign workers is creating a strain on water supplies, and worries about the long term effects. “I just wonder what will happen in 10 years,” he said. “Once the crisis in Darfur ends, this boom will end. So what’s the legacy of all this?”

For the full article, click here.


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