Horn of Africa: IRIN Update, 27 February
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Integrated Regional Information Network
for Central and Eastern Africa
Tel: +254 2 622147
Fax: +254 2 622129
SUDAN: 600,000 people at immediate risk of starvation
The United Nations has warned the international community of an impending humanitarian catastrophe in Sudan. The warning was made in a press release issued by OCHA on Friday. The UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Sudan, launched three months ago was recently revised to take account of the drought in central and western Sudan. The revised appeal calls for US $244 million in food and other assistance to meet the emergency needs of war and drought affected communities.
Of the total targeted population of more than three million people, 600,000 are aid to be "at immediate risk". This requires urgent funding of US $60 million, according to the press release. The UN's Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Kenzo Oshima, has expressed deep concern about the very poor response from the international donor community to the critical humanitarian situation developing in the Sudan. To date, only about one percent of the necessary funding has been pledged by international donors.
The press release notes that unless money is urgently pledged, WFP will be unable to feed people in need after March, with the critical hunger period beginning in April and May. UNICEF is in a similar position. The agency will be unable to continue with present levels of emergency intervention in water, sanitation and health sectors. A planed FAO vital seeds distribution programme is also threatened.
SUDAN: UNICEF airlifts over 2,500 demobilized child soldiers
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) announced on Tuesday that more than 2,500 former child soldiers had been airlifted out of conflict zones and into safe areas.
"Rehabilitation and family tracing can begin," according to a press release issued by the UN's Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS). The operation started on Friday and continued throughout the weekend. The former child soldiers were flown from the Bahr el Gazal combat zone in southern Sudan, by two planes operated by WFP.
The children were taken to reception centres, where local and international NGOs provided them with medical check-ups and other basic care. The operation is continuing until Tuesday, with some children being moved by road. The children ranged in age from 8-18 years and were demobilized from military camps run by the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA), following a commitment made by an SPLA commander to UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy, in October last year.
The children fall into two categories, according to the press release. Those with military training who never saw combat and those who saw combat and experienced other traumas. The first group could be reunited with their families and communities in three to four months. The other group requires more long-term care and will be provided with more formal vocational training.
SUDAN: US policy group make recommendations to end war
The Centre for International Strategic Studies (CSIS), an independent think tank based in Washington, on Monday released a study entitled "US Policy to End Sudan's War". The report highlights what it calls the Sudanese government's policy of bombarding humanitarian relief sites, human rights abuses and its failure to combat slavery.
According to the report, the 18-year old civil war, which has killed more than two million and left more than four million internally displaced, has galvanised broad bipartisan support within Congress. The document calls for Sudan to be placed high on the agenda of the new Bush administration.
"The report provides US policymakers with a pragmatic and focused strategy for bringing a just and lasting peace to Sudan," said John Hamre, CSIS president and CEO.
The report, "US Policy to End Sudan's War" is available on the CSIS website; www.csis.org/press/ma
SOMALIA: UAE team to assess health of livestock
A four-man team of veterinarians and animal health doctors from the United Arab Emirates arrived in Somalia on Tuesday to assess the health of livestock, UNDP's Somalia office reported. This is the third leg of the team's tour of Sudan , Ethiopia, and Somalia, according to a UNDP news release. The objective of the team's visit is to look at the health situation of animals and the condition of processed meat in Somalia, and to ascertain whether Somali livestock are free from Rift Valley Fever.
The team will visit Hargeisa, in the self-declared independent state of Somaliland, northwest Somalia, Bosaso, in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland, northeast Somalia, and Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
"We are prepared to intervene at the highest level concerning this issue", the release quotes UNDP Senior Deputy Resident Representative, Andrea Tamagnini as saying. According to Tamagnini, the livestock mission is one part of UNDP's efforts to "find out what technically has to be done to facilitate the reopening of this market".
The Arab Gulf States imposed a ban on imports of livestock from Horn of Africa countries in September 2000, following an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Some 70 percent of Somalia's GDP depends on livestock production and trade. Since the ban "serious concerns have developed for the food security and livelihood of poor households in northern and central Somalia," said the UNDP release.
Nairobi, 27 February, 2001
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