OFDA Sitrep #2 - Sudan Complex Emergency
Fighting began in 1983 between the Government of Sudan (GOS) and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) when the southern-based rebels demanded more influence in the government and protested the GOS efforts to "Islamize" the Christian and animist south. In 1991, the SPLA split into factions, and intensified fighting between the SPLA factions erupted in areas of the south. Civilians throughout the south and the transitional zone (the area of southern Darfur, southern Kordofan, northern Bahr el Ghazal, and the northern Upper Nile States) are directly affected by aerial bombings by the GOS and forced relocations due to fighting. Ongoing insecurity and population displacement in the south and the transitional zone, as well as near Khartoum, have not only interrupted or destroyed most of the indigenous trading and productive systems, but have also been a major impediment torelief efforts. The United Nations (U.N.) and numerous international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) within and outside the framework of Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) aredelivering relief assistance by airlifts, airdrops, barges,trains, and truck convoys. In more secure areas of southernSudan, efforts to rehabilitate and restore self-sufficiency have begun.
According to U.N. assessments carried out in late 1994, an estimated 4.25 million war-affected Sudanese will require some form of relief assistance, including 3.6 million in southern Sudan, 350,000 in the transitional zone, and 300,000 in camps outside Khartoum. Over 1.2 million Sudanese will require emergency food and non-food assistance in FY 1996. This includes 720,000 displaced/affected in southern Sudan; 95,000 displaced in the transitional zone; and 240,000 displaced in the camps outside Khartoum. Sudanese continue to flee from southern Sudan because of insecurity and civil strife. Currently, there are an estimated 556,000 Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries: 27,000 in the Central African Republic; 320,000 in Uganda; 60,000 in Ethiopia; 112,000 in Zaire; and 37,000 in Kenya. Several thousand Sudanese nationals are returning from Libya following Libya's decision to expel all foreigners without work permits. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as of December 1995, Sudan hosted an estimated 600,000 refugees, including 508,765 from Eritrea and 71,000 from Ethiopia. UNHCR estimates that over the course of 1995, approximately 24,000 Eritrean and 3,000 Ethiopian refugees were voluntarily repatriated. An additional 100,000 Eritreans are scheduled to return to their country between September 1995 and August 1996. Currently, repatriation of Ethiopian refugees is moving rapidly.
Total U.S. Government (USG) Assistance for Fiscal Year 1996 (to date). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $15,035,009
On November 23, 1995, the GOS temporarily banned all OLS, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and NGO relief flights originating from all locations and established a no flight exclusion zone between major towns in Eastern Equatoria, due to alleged insecurity in southern Sudan. These restrictions severely affected ongoing relief efforts and access to vulnerable populations and over 200 expatriate staff in southern Sudan. Following protests from the donor and NGO communities, the GOS modified the restrictions by allowing limited flights from Khartoum and Lokichokio, Kenya, and approving flights into southern Sudan on a case by case basis. Although the flight ban was lifted officially on December 5, as of late January, the GOS continued to deny access to 16 destinations. The GOS also continues to restrict the Belgian C- 130, the principal aircraft used to deliver relief supplies from Lokichokio, from flying into southern Sudan.
The GOS-imposed restrictions on relief flights followed a major early-dry season offensive launched by the SPLA against government troops in southern Sudan on October 25. The SPLA seized three major towns in Eastern Equatoria during the offensive, compelling GOS forces to flee north towards Juba.
On January 31, the United States announced that it was suspending its diplomatic presence in Sudan. The decision to pull out was driven by concerns for the safety of American Embassy personnel brought on by the continued presence of terrorist groups and activities in Sudan. U.S. Ambassador Timothy Carney will establish an office in Nairobi to maintain regular diplomatic communications with the GOS.
On January 31, the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) passed a resolution calling on Sudan to extradite three men allegedly involved in the attempt to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa last June. The resolution was considered at the request of the Ethiopian government and supported by Egypt. The GOS has condemned the UNSC's decision.
The SPLA made its biggest advance in four years following a pre-emptive attack on GOS-held areas in the South in lateOctober. The offensive allowed the SPLA to easily capture the towns of Parajok, Palatoka, and Magwe in Eastern Equatoria, and, most recently, the garrison town of Aswa. SPLA attempts to push further north towards Juba have been thwarted by government soldiers. In early November, the GOS issued an official call for mass mobilization in response to the SPLA offensive.
Following the SPLA's military victories, the GOS also stepped up accusations that Uganda, Ethiopia, and Eritrea were supporting Sudanese opposition groups and invading its territory with the help of Western governments. In early January, there was a border clash with Ethiopia and intense fighting between GOS and SPLA forces along the Ugandan border.
In addition, the GOS criticized the private visit of John Garang, leader of the SPLA/SPLM, to Washington, D.C., in December. Garang met with lower level officials and some members of Congress to discuss his vision for a New Sudan. On December 15, several NGO representatives attended a brief meeting with Garang and shared their questions and concerns on the situation in southern Sudan.
Violence erupted again at a public university in northern Sudan in late November when groups of students supporting the GOS clashed with other groups supporting the opposition Democratic National Grouping in Omdurman. Several people were injured and the university was closed temporarily. The German Ambassador to Sudan has claimed that the students arrested during the anti-government riots in early September were killed while in jail. The GOS has denied this claim.
Despite regional differences, the results of the FAO crop assessment carried out from September 28 to October 18 in southern Sudan indicate that crop yields in 1995, totalling an estimated 154,000 tons, will be below last year's levels and will cover less than one-half of consumption requirements. The assessment attributed this production shortfall, which is expected to severely affect vulnerable populations in the south and the displaced in Khartoum, to unfavorable weather conditions, financing difficulties, and pests.
From November 27 to 30, the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (SRRA) -- the relief arm of the SPLA -- hosted a humanitarian conference in southern Sudan which was attended by representatives from the SPLM/SRRA, U.N. agencies, NGOs, human rights organizations, donors, and the media. The conference was a follow-up to the SRRA conference held from September 21 to 23 in southern Sudan. The discussion focused on the role of OLS in providing humanitarian assistance.
A comprehensive review of OLS was launched in December and is expected to be completed in the Summer of 1996. BHR/OFDA is partially funding this assessment through a grant to the U.N. Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA). Issues raised in the SRRA conference in November will be discussed further in the OLS review process.
A U.N. World Food Program (WFP) barge convoy recently completed an assessment of the areas between Renk and Malakal. Recommendations from the assessment include delivering food, small tools, and grains to these areas in April. Currently, WFP is conducting an assessment in Gogrial and investigating GOS reports of 4,000 displaced in Yei, as well.
A joint U.N./GOS needs assessment in Juba was also completed in mid-December. NGOs and donor agencies participated in this assessment. The assessment revealed that the health and nutrition services provided by Action Internationale Contre la Faim (AICF) in Juba have been effective, but that supplementary feeding programs suffer from poor coordination among NGOs, untrained personnel, and lack of proper supervision. According to the assessment, many areas in Juba town also suffer as a result of poor waste disposal systems.
Beginning in late October, NGOs reported an outbreak of cholera in Juba, Khartoum, and other GOS-controlled areas in Sudan. The outbreak in Juba, the area most affected, appeared to be related to the mass influx of soldiers that had further strained the town's already poor sanitation system. The U.N. and NGOs immediately organized a response and managed to control the outbreak.
UNHCR's efforts to repatriate Ethiopian refugees in eastern Sudan have been accelerated following numerous reported incidents of harassment, detention, and even torture of Ethiopian refugees by Sudanese police officers. A total number of 4,900 refugees, out of a total 20,000 registered, were repatriated on January 3 from a camp in eastern Sudan. Voluntary repatriations are expected to end on June 30, 1996.
Due to insecurity in the area, the GOS has also requested thatthe refugee camp in Gorgora be moved to another location and has threatened to expel Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees unless donor assistance required to support them is increased. The repatriation of Eritrean refugees has also been delayed by GOS demands to form a new tripartite agreement between UNHCR, Eritrea, and the GOS. UNHCR has proposed to hold a meeting on this issue in Geneva in the near future. Continued fighting in southern Sudan has delayed plans to repatriate Sudanese refugees in Uganda and may lead to a new influx.
On December 1, a meeting was held between the GOS Minister of Health, Lt. Col. Gatluak Deng Garang Dabuth, and Dr. Philip Lee, Assistant Secretary for Health, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington, DC. The discussion evolved around health issues, including HIV/AIDS and malaria, as well as refugee health concerns associated with the conflict in the South.
Situation by Region
The South Equatoria
The airport in Juba was closed to non-military planes temporarily following the SPLA surprise attack in October. The GOS also continues to impose strict restrictions on expatriate travel within Juba.
Aerial attacks were reported near the AICF office in Labone on November 21. There were no casualties, but NGO staff have been warned to limit travel in the area and many U.N. and OLS staff in Labone have since been evacuated. Aerial bombardment by GOS was also reported near the Kotobi camp, Mundri, Chukudum and Yambio in early November. OLS relief activities in Nimule have not been affected by the fighting.
In mid-November, armed SPLA soldiers entered U.N. and NGOcompounds in Maridi and attacked two guards and a UNICEF staff member.
Interfactional fighting continues to plague this region since the second cease-fire brokered by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter formally ended on July 28. Most of the areas affected by intense fighting between factions of the South Sudan Independence Movement (SSIM), such as Waat, Yuai, Akobo and Ayod, remain inaccessible due to flight restrictions and insecurity. SSIM recently issued a warning that they would shoot at any unauthorized U.N. plane coming into the areas of Waat or Akobo.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) temporarily evacuated from Ganyiel on November 8 due to reported insecurity in the area. A security mission has been sent to assess the situation. Twelve NGOs working with UNICEF have been evacuated from Tonga and relocated to Lokichokio.
Bahr el Ghazal
Wau county has remained mostly secure, despite some fighting in Turalei, Panliet and Theik Thou. A UNICEF veterinary team was ambushed on November 7 while transporting two wounded men to Thiet. One of the wounded was shot dead in the UNICEF vehicle.
The Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF)/Belgium logistician abducted by forces of Kerubino Kwanyan Bol during a surprise attack on the village of Panthou on September 16 was released unharmed on October 23 and flown from Gogrial to Khartoum.
In late November, two Save the Children (SCF) staff members were shot dead by bandits as they travelled at night from Umm Ruwaba to Rashad. Police and military investigations of the attack are ongoing. SCF, in cooperation with local government officials, has stepped up security measures in project areas.
Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and GOAL/Ireland recently completed a BHR/OFDA funded registration of displaced in Khartoum, after a short delay caused by problems in coordinating with local community leaders. The total number of persons in the three camps assessed is an estimated 119,132. The total greater Khartoum displaced now stands at an estimated 1.8 million.
A recent nutrition survey conducted by ADRA in Omdurman revealed an unacceptably high malnutrition rate among children in Al Salam camp. Currently, ADRA is supporting a wet supplementary feeding center for severely malnourished children at the camp through a BHR/OFDA grant.
Although the survey also showed that Wad Al Bashir camp in Omdurman has the highest rate of malnutrition of all Khartoum displaced camps, over 3,000 families displaced by ongoing demolitions in Omdurman were recently resettled to a new site near the camp. ADRA plans to establish a therapeutic feeding center at the camp in the near future.
Assistance Provided by the U.S. Government On October 1, 1994, U.S. Ambassador Donald Pettersen renewed the civil strife/displaced persons disaster in Sudan, determining that USG relief assistance would be needed for FY 1995. Total USG relief assistance in FY 1995 amounted to $57,493,215. USG assistance to Sudan is provided through BHR/OFDA, BHR/Office of Food for Peace (FFP), and the State Department's Bureau for Population, Refugee, and Migration (PRM). Stating that over 1.2 million people in Sudan will remain in need of emergency assistance in FY 1996, U.S. Ambassador Timothy Carney renewed the disaster declaration for Sudan on October 12, 1995.
The BHR/OFDA Emergency Disaster Relief Coordinator, responsible for monitoring activities in GOS-controlled areas, left Khartoum on February 6, along with other U.S. official personnel. OFDA/Washington staff will work with Foreign Service National staff in Khartoum to provide ongoing monitoring of relief programs in GOS-controlled areas. BHR/OFDA is currently recruiting a new southern Sudan program officer for deployment to Nairobi.
Summary of USG Assistance FY 1996 (to date)
BHR/OFDA Assistance In FY 1996, BHR/OFDA has provided funds to support the following ongoing activities in Sudan:
Program Support (e.g., personnel, equipment, etc.) . . . . . . . . . $5,000
AICF health care program in Juba . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $838,662
CARE emergency recovery program in Tambura . . . . . . . $497,594
International Medical Corps medical services in Tambura County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$299,303
Norwegian People's Aid (NPA)/Sudan food relief and agriculture rehabilitation program . . . . . . . $1,743,050
WFP program operation support in northern Sudan . . . . .$350,000
U.N. DHA assessment of OLS activities in entire OLS area . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $150,000
BHR/OFDA Assistance FY 96 (to date). . . . . . . . . . $3,883,609
The following BHR/OFDA activities were funded in FY 1995 but remain active in FY 1996: Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) health programs in Eastern Equatoria ADRA feeding program in Khartoum displaced camps American Refugee Committee emergency health care program in Equatoria Catholic Relief Services (CRS) food security projects and food distribution in Equatoria CRS local relief and rehabilitation initiatives in EquatoriaInternational Aid Sweden water program in Western Equatoria IRC health program in Upper Nile IRC health, nutrition, and sanitation interventions for displaced in Khartoum Lutheran World Relief road rehabilitation project in southern Sudan NPA/Sudan Medical Care medical care and immunization program SCF/UK emergency kit distribution program for displaced in southern Sudan SCF/US food security program in southern Kordofan WFP food monitoring activities in southern Sudan World Vision Relief and Development (WVRD) relief and rehabilitation programs in Tonj and Yambio UNICEF/OLS food security program and field operations in southern Sudan
In FY 1996, FFP has contributed 17,320 MT of emergency food to NPA and ADRA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$11,151,400
BHR/FFP Assistance FY 96 (to date). . . . . . . . . .$11,151,400
In FY 1995, PRM contributed $44 million to UNHCR's 1995 General Program for Africa. This program included assistance to Sudanese refugees and conflict victims. PRM also contributed $38.5 million to ICRC's Africa Appeal and $6.8 million to WFP. A portion of these contributions was used for Sudan and for Sudanese refugees.
Total USG Assistance FY 96 (to date) . . . . . . . . .$15,035,009
Total USG Assistance from FY 92 - 96 (to date)
FY 1992. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$60,206,109
FY 1993. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$99,694,752
FY 1994. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$94,805,537
FY 1995 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$57,493,215
FY 1996 (to date). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$15,035,009
Total FY 1992 - 1995 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $327,234,622