Chad + 1 more

Humanitarian assistance to the victims of conflict in Sudan

Amount of decision: EUR 31,000,000
Decision reference number: ECHO/SDN/BUD/2004/05000

Explanatory Memorandum

1 - Rationale, needs and target population:

1.1. - Rationale:

In the Greater Darfur Region of western Sudan, the security situation has been steadily deteriorating since late 2002 affecting large segments of the population.(1) The conflict has evolved from pocketed and relatively traditional tribal clashes and banditry into open warfare in early 2003 involving the Sudan Liberation Movement / Army (SLM/A), the Government of Sudan (GoS) forces, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and militia groups known as Janjaweed.(2)

Despite some positive developments on political level, the conflict has not been solved yet.(3)From the end of September 2004 the situation has further deteriorated. General insecurity, skirmishes, harassment, banditry, and violence towards civilians have again become more widespread and regular, fuelling the fear and sense of insecurity of the war-affected communities.

The international community has strongly condemned this situation through three UN Security Council Resolutions, on 30 July, 18 September, and 19 November 2004. In this context, J. Pronk, the UN Secretary-General's Special representative for Sudan warned the international community that Darfur might easily enter a state of anarchy. (4)

In view of this alarming situation, the African Union (AU) decided on 20 October 2004 to expand its monitoring mission in Darfur from 390 to 3320 troops and civilian police. Two protocols on the security and the humanitarian situation were signed on 9 November in Abuja by the GoS, the JEM and the SLM/A. Taking into account the level of implementation of previous agreements, there might not be an immediate improvement of the situation in the field.

The conflict in Darfur has led to what has been described by the UN as the largest current humanitarian crisis in the world. The appalling impact of the conflict on civilians can be summarised as follows:

- The insecurity due to the conflict has affected most of the inhabited areas;

- The conflict-affected population in Darfur is estimated now at least 2 million people dependent on humanitarian aid, including 1.6 million internally displaced (IDPs) and about 400,000 residents directly affected;

- About 200,000 Sudanese refugees have fled into Chad;

- Hundreds of towns, villages and other settlements have been burnt, looted and depopulated;

- An estimated 70,000 persons have died from hunger and diseases related to the conflict, and an unknown number as the result of direct violence;

- Massive and serious violations of International Humanitarian Law have been committed against civilians (e.g. rapes, indiscriminate attacks, destruction of properties), which will often have long term physical and psychological impact on the victims.

For the time being, access to the neediest people is the biggest problem faced by the humanitarian agencies. Since the establishment of a UN-GoS joint implementation mechanism (3 July 2004), administrative impediments to humanitarian assistance have decreased. However, impediments have not ceased in the rebel-controlled areas in spite of a UN-SLM/A agreement signed on 18 October 2004 and establishing a travel notification system for humanitarian agencies.

As logistical constraints have decreased since the end of the rainy season, the deteriorating security situation now represents by far the main and most serious obstacle to humanitarian access. The risk for agencies to be caught up in fighting has increased, and the number of incidents involving aid workers is on the rise (e.g. truck drivers shot, humanitarian items stolen, abductions, threats). On 10 October 2004, two aid workers were killed in North- Darfur when their vehicle was hit by a landmine. This highly volatile and worsening security environment has led several agencies to suspend operations and/or to withdraw from some areas. This has had serious detrimental effects, delaying or preventing distribution of aid to people in desperate conditions.

Since the beginning of the crisis, funding has steadily increased(5) and, accordingly, the needed humanitarian presence has stepped up.(6) The EU as a whole is the largest overall donor, having so far pledged more than EUR 326 million since the beginning of the crisis. This figure includes humanitarian assistance and support to the AU's efforts to contain the crisis through funds from the African peace facility. The humanitarian effort must continue in the following months. All observers agree that, whatever the evolution of the political and military situation, the humanitarian needs will be at least as high in 2005 as in 2004.

This decision builds on previous decisions adopted by the EC since the beginning of the crisis, targeting both affected people in Darfur(7) and in Chad(8). Operations financed under this decision are urgently needed and shall complement the EUR 20 million programmed for 2005 under the Global Plan for Sudan. Whilst this decision focuses mainly on the population affected by the conflict in Darfur, many other areas of Sudan are also subject to outbreaks of violence, worsened by natural disasters. Should needs be judged as acute as those in Darfur then assistance for these other areas would be also considered.


(1) Population estimates range from 6.5 - 7.7 million inhabitants, divided over more than 60 different ethnic groups.

(2) Janjaweed can be translated as 'armed horsemen'.

(3) The most important milestones on political level have been the cease-fire and humanitarian access agreement for Darfur, signed in N'djamena (Chad) on April 8 2004. which has been never fully implemented and on 28 May 2004, the agreement of the parties to a Joint Commission and a Cease-Fire Commission led by the AU, with representation of the EU and the US, in order to monitor the cease-fire.

(4) J. Pronk, briefing to the Security Council (4 November 2004).

(5) Since the beginning of the crisis in Darfur, a total of EUR 426 million assistance has been provided. The coverage of the UN appeal was about 57%.

(6) Between 1 July and 1 October 2004, there was a three-fold increase in total humanitarian staff. On 1 October 2004, the UN reported 6154 aid workers, of which 780 expatriates, working for about 70 agencies.

(7) ECHO/SDN/BUD/2004/02000, ECHO/SDN/BUD/2004/03000, ECHO/SDN/BUD/2004/04000, ECHO/SDN/EDF/2004/01000.

(8) ECHO/TCD/210/2003/0100, ECHO/TCD/BUD/2004/02000, ECHO/TCD/EDF/2004/02000