UN agencies predict grim year ahead for Darfur

A combination of insecurity, a bad harvest, weak rainy season and rising world food prices foretell a particularly bad year for the population of Darfur, according to UN agencies operating in the war-torn region. About 2.5 million Darfuris have been displaced by the four-year conflict and up to 300,000 killed, when ethnic African rebels took up arms against the central government. Since May, the World Food Program halved its food ration to nearly 3 million people in Darfur because of attacks on its convoys. Two WFP trucks were hijacked Sunday, bringing the total to 83 since January. Several UN agencies Sunday warned of a spike in malnutrition, and other long term effects if security and access are not improved.