(MNN) — The United States
has ordered new economic sanctions to pressure Sudan's
government to halt the bloodshed in Darfur. The fighting in that region has displaced 2.5
million people, leading to a humanitarian crisis.
Saying diplomacy isn't working, Washington
is now targeting government-run oil ventures and seeking U.N. Security Council
sanctions, in addition to seeking provision preventing the government from
conducting military flights in Darfur.
The war has cost at least 200,000 lives and forced millions more over the border into ill-prepared refugee camps in neighboring
countries. The new sanctions are an
extension of the ones put into place 10 years ago. They ban 31 mostly-Sudanese government-owned
or controlled companies from using the U.S. banking system.
What effect will there be on humanitarian aid groups
struggling to help the war's survivors? Christian Reformed World Relief
Committee's Andrew Ryskamp says, "At this point, it's a little early to
tell what the impact is. The last time that
there was increased pressure on Darfur, the
security situation did improve somewhat. International attention on Darfur does have an impact."
Ryskamp says while pressure from other high-powered countries
like China can relieve the crisis, those in ministry are making preparations
for strong long-term support in the region. "A number of Christian
agencies have banded together so that our combined strength and influence can
be used not only in Sudan
but also in Chad,
and increasingly, we're looking at ways that we can work in regions, especially
where there's insecurity."
Their current effort targets 90,000 internally-displaced
people and focuses on: the provision of food, the provision of vegetable seed
and the restocking of small animals, the construction of latrines and wells for
potable water, and the provision of health-related services (education,
medicine, etc.). Another initiative is teaching people how to create
fuel-efficient stoves and reforestation.
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