Nearly two months after 13 major international aid agencies were expelled from Sudan, concerns rise that rebel groups are uniting in preparation for fresh attacks.
During his visit to Sudan last week, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts visited the conflict-ridden region of Darfur, calling it a "humanitarian tragedy" that remains a "high priority."
More than a month and a half after 13 major international aid agencies were expelled from Sudan for allegedly spying on the government, the situation on the ground is ever more grim in a region that was – before the expulsions – home to the world's largest humanitarian aid effort.
Concerns about the humanitarian situation in the semi-arid western Darfur region – where 2.7 million people live in camps for the displaced – come amid increased insecurity for aid workers in the region and claims that rebel groups are uniting in preparation for "change."
"The impact of the expulsions is already being felt across Darfur, but is likely to get even worse in the coming months," wrote Alun McDonald, of the British arm of Oxfam International, in a blog posting last Friday. "One of the largest humanitarian crises in the world could get even worse."
An ongoing conflict between government forces and rebels protesting Darfur's marginalization has lasted six years, leaving up to 300,000 dead and driving almost 3 million others from their homes, according to United Nations estimates.
Aid groups kicked out
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