1997 United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for the Sudan

Originally published

January - December 1997


Executive Summary
A. 1996 in Review
1. Overview
2. Funding Response to the 1996 Appeal for the Sudan
3. United Nations Agency Activities in 1996 A. 1996 in Review II.
A. 1996 in Review III.
B. NGOs - Sectors and Areas of Resposibility
C. Humanitarian Strategy in 1997
D. Projection of Humanitarian Needs/Programme Priorities in 1997
Part I.
Part II.
E. United Nations Country Strategy and 1997 Programme
Project Summary 1.1
Project Summary 1.2
Project Summary 1.3
Project Summary 1.4
Project Summary 1.5
Project Summary 2.1
Project Summary 2.2
Project Summary 2.3
Project Summary 2.4
Project Summary 2.5
Project Summary 2.6
ANNEX I. The International Committee of the Red Cross
ANNEX II. Abbreviations and Acronyms

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1. OVERVIEW During 1996 the 13 year-old civil conflict continued to destabilise and further degrade the lives of millions of Sudanese civilians. War-affected populations throughout the Sudan struggled to cope with the effects of chronic malnutrition and an alarming increase in the spread of infectious diseases. The rapid deterioration of the economy during the second quarter of 1996 exacerbated the humanitarian crisis, putting intense pressure on millions of people already living below subsistence levels. By the fourth quarter of 1996, the coping mechanisms of many vulnerable populations were at the point of collapse, raising the prospect of widespread hunger in food-deficit areas including the Red Sea Hills, northern Kordofan and southern Darfur, where the 1995 cereal harvest was reduced by dry weather. Further deepening the crisis, the humanitarian efforts of the United Nations through OLS were constrained throughout 1996 by the Government of the Sudan's initiatives to control unilaterally the flow of international relief assistance. Beginning in the summer of 1995, the Government imposed unprecedented control over the type of equipment available to OLS, paralysing many scheduled deliveries of food relief to populations in need, especially in southern Sudan. The Government justified the blanket denial to use a C-130 aircraft from 17 June 1995 until 15 July 1996 by invoking its rights as a sovereign government to control the airspace over its territory. By July 1996 the situation had deteriorated to the point that OLS' ability to fulfil its humanitarian mandate had become gravely compromised. By May 1996 the Government's ban on large-capacity cargo aircraft, combined with access restrictions, had reduced the logistical capacity of OLS' cross-border operations to 20 percent of projected food deliveries. By July 1996 WFP was able to deliver only 14 percent of the food necessary to support vulnerable populations in war-affected areas served out of Lokichokio. Denial of large-capacity aircraft during the "hunger gap" months between May and August 1996, when the use of airstrip and roads is limited by wet weather, resulted in increased malnutrition, especially in northern Bahr El-Ghazal and parts of Upper Nile and Jonglei where insecurity had forced people to flee their homes and abandon their food stocks. Thousands of war-affected Sudanese were jeopardized and more than 1,800 died as a result of an outbreak of cholera and severe diarrhoea which ravaged southern Sudan and the transitional zone during April, May and June 1996. Unfortunately, the Government refused in several cases to grant access to some of the most affected areas and stalled efforts made by NGOs to provide medical assistance. Had restrictions been lifted at the time the United Nations requested access, the outbreak could have been more effectively contained. In June severe flooding was reported in the area of Pochalla, a village which the Sudanese Peoples’s Liberation Army (SPLA)-Mainstream recaptured from the Government in March 1996 and to which OLS had been denied access from April onwards. Following reports thatthe flooding had displaced more than 15,000 people and destroyed food crops, OLS made an emergency request for flight access to Pochalla as well as permission to use a C-130 Hercules aircraft for food airdrops. The Government responded positively only on 8 August. In September 1996 the Government again withdrew clearance, reinstating approval only one month later. In October 1995 the SPLA-Mainstream staged a major offensive against the Government’s positions along the Magwe corridor, eventually regaining control over the strategic triangle between Parajok, Pageri and Magwe. In response, the Government imposed a total ban on all relief flights from 27 November until 7 December 1995. Between December 1995 and February 1996, and again from May until the end of 1996, a no-fly zone was imposed by the Government over areas south of Juba-Torit-Kapoeta and Juba-Yei-Kaya. In retaliation against the Government's refusals to grant access, rebel factions began denying access to certain destinations during the second quarter of 1996. As in previous years, OLS relief operations depended in 1996 on guarantees of safe passage from all parties to the conflict. The reciprocating behaviour of the rebels further constrained OLS' ability to meet the needs of vulnerable populations in the conflict zones. Donor confidence in OLS’ ability to maintain access was severely tested at precisely the time when the foreign assistance budgets of many donors were overextended. This resulted in a major shortfall in funding for OLS. Moreover, several donors had announced in 1995 the withholding of further contributions pending the findings of the OLS Review. In mid-August, when the report of the OLS Review was distributed, only 20.9 percent of the US$ 107 million requested in DHA’s 1996 Inter-Agency Consolidated Appeal for the Sudan had been provided by donors. By year’s end, total donor pledges came to US$ 55,331,255, approximately 52 percent of the total amount required. In late 1995 the Government restructured its humanitarian institutions by creating the Humanitarian Aid Commission, which incorporated the former Relief and Rehabilitation Commission and the Commission of Voluntary Agencies. Throughout the year, discussions took place regarding the role of the Government in the management of OLS. While the Government claimed that OLS was a joint operation between the UN and the Government, the UN reaffirmed those humanitarian principles pertaining the neutrality and impartiality of UN humanitarian cross-border operations in conflict situations. Accordingly, the UN affirmed that none of the parties to the conflict could claim a unilateral control over the management and operation of OLS. Of the vulnerable populations put at greater risk during 1996, the displaced persons (IDPs) living in the Khartoum camps and settlement areas continued to be the least protected by the UN. Access restrictions and forced evictions/demolitions eroded the coping mechanisms of thousands of persons already living below subsistence levels. During 1996 more than 12 demolitions by the Government occurred in squatter settlements in greater Khartoum. More than 20,000 IDPS lost their homes during these operations, nearly all of which occurred without warning. The majority of newly dispossessed were offered sites among the Government’s four official displaced camps. However, the authorities continued to hinder free access to the camps and settlements. In late June, after a joint demarche by the donorcommunity, international NGOs and the UN, the Government expanded access to the Khartoum camps. The Government also continued to thwart NGO efforts in the South, especially in Bahr El-Ghazal and Jonglei, to re-establish basic health services in war-affected areas. During the first half of 1996, Government flight restrictions forced Médecins Sans Frontières-Belgium (MSF-B) to access flood and diarrhoea-affected victims in Akobo through Nyandit, 20 kilometres away. Similar flight restrictions obstructed other NGOs, including German Agro Action, which wa

In the third quarter of 1996, OXFAM and the IFRC reported that approximately 240,000 persons living in the Red Sea Hills State were affected by famine conditions. A combination of deteriorating terms of trade between livestock and grain, as well as restrictions imposed on the movement of food by Government authorities, forced the price of cereals up by more than 300 percent. In mid-October WFP suggested a joint assessment mission to ascertain the full scope of the problem. After several weeks' delay, the mission was finally given clearance two months after the emergency was first announced; further difficulties imposed by local officials forced WFP to cancel the mission.

The unpredictable dynamics of the civil conflict resulted in splits and major realignments within the rebel movements. In April 1996 Dr. Riak Machar, the leader of the South Sudan Independence Army/Movement (SSIA/M), and a heretofore unrecognised group calling itself the Sudan People's Liberation Army-Bahr El-Ghazal, headed by Kerubino Kwanyin Bol, signed a Political Charter with the Government. In the months following the signing of the Charter, further splits occurred within the SSIA/M. This lead to an increase in hostilities between the signatories and its opponents. By the end of the year, it was clear that the Sudanese People's Liberation Army/Movement-Mainstream, lead by Dr. John Maibior Garang, had emerged from the last two years of inter-factional fighting as the major rebel organisation opposing the Government.

The UN Special Envoy for Humanitarian Affairs to the Sudan undertook a mission to the Sudan in April 1996. The primary objective of the mission was to resume proximity talks between the parties to the conflict so as to improve and extend implementation of the 1994 IGADD Agreements on Principles and Humanitarian Access. Special emphasis was placed on gaining access to SPLA-held locations in the Nuba Mountains which the GOS has continued to cut off from humanitarian programmes. Although the Envoy received commitments from all the parties to attend the talks, the new political environment created by the signature of the Political Charter prevented their actual resumption because of the absence of recognised, legitimate interlocutors among all the parties concerned. In late September the Special Envoy announced his resignation for reasons of health. By year end, a replacement had yet to be appointed. It is expected that the new Special Envoy will begin discussions with all the parties with the aim of broadening access and formalising operational modalities. It is also expected that the Special Envoy will attempt to gain commitments from all OLS partners to a basic set of operational standards and the core set of humanitarian principles inherent in the OLS mandate.

The last internationally sponsored attempt under the auspices of IGADD to further the peace process in the Sudan failed in September 1994, and no additional negotiations under IGADD sponsorship took place during 1996. Relations became increasingly hostile between the Sudan and several neighboring countries, specifically, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Uganda, further limiting the possibilities for a revival of the IGAD framework (in March 1996, IGADD changed its name to Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, IGAD). Accusations that Sudan was involved in the assassination attempt on the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in June 1995 in Addis Ababa further isolated the GOS and led to the Security Council’s adoption of Resolutions 1044 in January 1996, Resolution 1054 in April 1996, by which diplomatic sanctions were imposed on the Sudan, as well as Resolution 1070 of 16 August 1996, which raises the eventuality of a ban on international flights of all aircraft registered in the Sudan.

The only initiative related to peace building that occurred during 1996 was the UNESCO Culture of Peace Symposium held in Noordwijk, Netherlands in May 1996. At the symposium, representatives from the Government, rebel movements and Sudanese civil society met to discuss issues related to national development and a resolution of the conflict.

Throughout the year, relief and rehabilitation activities were severely disrupted by fighting and insecurity in areas where the most vulnerable populations live, especially northern Bahr El-Ghazal, parts of Jonglei, eastern Upper Nile and East Equatoria. In 1996 more than 60 evacuations involving an approximate total of 240 relief personnel occurred from 35 locations served by OLS southern sector.

In addition, five hostage situations occurred including:

1) September-October 1995: A MSF-B logistician was abducted during a surprise attack on Panthou in northern Bahr El-Ghazal by Kerubino's forces and held for more than five weeks before being released through Government officials in Khartoum.

2) December 1995-January 1996: A Sudanese employee of MSF-B was taken from Ajiep by Kerubino's forces. He was released after two weeks.

3) March 1996: A WFP barge with two WFP international staff and 11 Sudanese staff was held near Doleib Hill for two days while an unknown group of armed militia looted 50 MTs of sorghum and oil and stripped the barge of equipment and staffs' personal effects.

4) May 1996: A priest working with an OLS member organisation, Diocese of Torit, was captured during an ambush by the Uganda-based Lord's Resistance Army on the Kitgum-Labone road in northern Uganda. The priest was released after two days, but three local staff who accompanied him remained missing.

5) October 1996: Two Humanitarian Affairs Coordination (HAC) officials on board of a WFP barge convoy were detained for seven days by armed militia near Wau Shilluk.

During 1996, 37 separate bombing incidents were reported by OLS relief personnel including the 23 August attack on Kotobi, a village of 4,000 IDPs, by Government helicopter gun-ships. The attack destroyed the village and resulted in six deaths and 41 wounded.

During the third and fourth quarters of 1996, security in northern Uganda deteriorated markedly as a result of increased military activity by the Lord's Resistance Army and West Bank Nile Front, also based in Uganda. On two occasions in July and September, Sudanese refugee camps were attacked, forcing thousands of refugees to flee for safety towards the Sudanese border. Humanitarian conditions continued to worsen due to frequent closures of the main transport routes into the camps.

In September and October an FAO Crop Assessment Mission to the ten states in southern Sudan projected an above-average harvest. The production estimate was readjusted by a subsequent joint FAO/WFP Mission in November/December to 440,000 MTs of cereals. The report cautioned that, although the cereal harvest would be sufficient to meet the needs of the southern population as a whole, insecurity and inadequate infrastructure will make it difficult in 1997 to transfer surplus crops to all food-deficit areas. The report also indicated that populations in Juba, Gogrial and parts of Jonglei including Pochalla and Pibor will require food assistance during 1997.

The first independent review of OLS in its six-year history was undertaken in late 1995 and early 1996. By late April the review team had completed its fieldwork in Sudan and Kenya. The amount of data and documentation, however, far exceeded previous estimates in terms of volume and complexity. The team, estimates in terms of volume and complexity. The team, therefore, requested additional time to complete its comprehensive analysis. The GOS and southern movements submitted their comments before the Review’s official presentation at a series of meetings convened by DHA in Geneva in late September. By April 1997, these texts will be issued by DHA, which commissioned the Review, as an Annex to the final report. Prior to the Geneva meetings, the UN Agencies drafted a position paper outlining the UN’s official comments on the Review’s recommendations. This paper was accepted in principle by the OLS partners. During the Geneva meetings, it was also agreed that the UN would develop a plan of action for implementing the Review’s recommendations at strategy meetings between OLS northern and southern sectors to be held in Khartoum at the end of October.

At the strategy meetings, the UN Agencies agreed to immediately implement as many of the recommendations as possible including: a regional approach in the Annual Assessments and Appeal; where feasible, integration of northern and southern programme; the introduction of a humanitarian principle programme in the northern sector. Northern and souther OLS sectors agreed on a comprehensive humanitarian strategy for 1997 which clearly sets out the goals of OLS in the coming year including: a comprehensive programme for the protection of IDPs; strengthening relations with OLS partners through training programmes and bi-annual planning and review sessions; enhancing the coordinating function of UNHCU by introducing an integrated information management system; streamlining the provision of relief in the field through standardization of assessment methodology and programme interventions. A draft Plan of Action detailing actions and deadlines was also drafted. At the first meeting of International Advisory Committee on OLS, held in Geneva on 10 December, the Humanitarian Strategy for 1997 and draft Plan of Action were presented to the donors. UNCERO was requested by thedonors to continue to provide comprehensive reports on progress achieved in implementing Review recommendations.

Although insecurity, aircraft shortages and denials of flight access to vulnerable areas seriously constrained delivery of humanitarian relief assistance to southern Sudan during 1996, OLS significantly addressed some of the worst material effects of the conflict on civilian populations by delivering 50,366 MTs of food between January and November 1996 (of which 28,666 MTs were allocated to Government-held areas and 21,700 MTs to SPLA-held areas). OLS also delivered 3,403 MTs by air of non-food relief supplies to areas accessible from Lokichokio. OLS also continued to support rehabilitation programmes in the fields of health, household food security (HHFS), livestock, water and sanitation, emergency education, war-affected children and capacity building.

During 1996 the work of the UNCERO continued to be supported by the UNHCU in Khartoum. The latter was pivotal in collecting and disseminating information about the humanitarian crisis to donors, participating agencies and Government counterparts. UNHCU also facilitated inter-agency operations and was responsible for monitoring the situation of IDPs throughout the Sudan.


The 1995 FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission identified Kordofan and Darfur as food-deficit areas. FAO's 1996 programme in the Sudan gave priority to addressing the serious seed deficit in these two drought-prone regions. Further research by FAO found that the majority of farmers in Kordofan and Darfur were destitute and unable to purchase cereal seeds at market prices, which were exceptionally high. Using US$ 195,000 provided by FAO Headquarters, FAO Sudan purchased 110 MTs of sorghum seeds and 205 MTs of millet seeds during the second quarter of 1996. These seeds were loaned during the planting season to destitute farmers on the provision that they would be repaid after next year's harvest. FAO's seed fund saved the 1996 crop in areas which received adequate rainfall. Unfortunately, by year's end, most areas in Kordofan and Darfur remained under drought conditions. The 1996 joint FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission confirmed that these two regions will remain food-deficit areas through 1997.

In response to an FAO appeal, the British Government donated a sum of US$ 365,000 in 1995 for the provision of seed to war-affected populations in southern Sudan and the transitional zones. FAO used the funds to procure and distribute 725 MTs of seeds including 189 MTs of ground nuts, 289 MTs of sorghum, 165 MTs of maize and 84 MTs of millet. The funds were originally allocated for use during the 1995 season, but insecurity along the river corridors prevented a complete distribution in 1995. The project was continued during 1996 by using the WFP barge convoys to deliver seeds to more than 60 locations along the Renk-Malakal, Tonga-Fanjak and Malakal-Juba corridors. FAO was able to procure additional seeds during 1996 because WFP agreed to cover the transport costs associated with the river corridor distributions which covered both Government and rebel-held areas. FAO implemented its seeds project in close collaboration with UNDP, UNICEF, WFP and UNHCR. Coordination also occurred between FAO and NGOs including Save the Children (SCF-UK), OXFAM, ACORD, WSH/GTZ, SRC and IARA, all of which played a major role in seed distribution.

As was the case last year, FAO successfully conducted two Crop and Food Supply Assessment Missions in close collaboration with WFP. The first of these was to southern Sudan in September- October 1996 and the second to the rest of the country in November-December 1996. The mission covering the ten southern states visited both government and rebel-held areas. The reports indicate that the 1996 crop will be above average in most areas but that a number of locations in Equatoria and Bahr Al-Ghazal States will have deficits in 1997. The second mission covered the whole country. It forecast total 1996/97 Cereal production at 5.33 million MTs comprising 4.1 million MTs of sorghum, 0.49 million MTs of millet, 0.64 million MTs of wheat (to be harvested in April 1997) and a relatively small quantity of maize, mainly produced in the South. At this level, production is 50 percent higher than last year’s disappointing crop and even higher than the bumper crop of 1994/95. Despite an overall food surplus this year, the six states in Darfur and Kordofan, Read Sea State and the South will be in deficit. In particular, in the case of North Kordofan and North Darfur, some areas and sectors of population will have difficulty in meeting their food needs. The Mission estimated that under Operation Lifeline Sudan a net total of 52,176 MTs in emergency food aid (including, inter alia, 38,931 MTs of cereals and 11, 814 MTs of non-cereal food) would be required for 2.6 million displaced and war-affected people in 1997. This global figure wassubsequently revised to take into account additional information regarding WFP and NGO carry-over stocks and outstanding pledges. On this basis, a total of 36,410 MTs of emergency food aid will be required for OLS in 1997. The country may also be in need of limited food aid in certain chronic deficit areas.

In October FAO participated in OLS northern sector's Annual Needs Assessment by sending an agronomist on the team that visited the Malakal corridor. A trial project for seed bulking in Juba started this year in collaboration with ACORD and WSH/GTZ. Fifty feddans were cultivated and planted with short-maturing varieties of seeds. Unfortunately, the trial was only a limited success due to heavy infestation by stem borer. Pending the availability of additional funds, FAO will plant an additional 1,000 feddans in 1997.

3.2 United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs

In conformity with its mandated role of coordinating emergency humanitarian activities within the United Nations system, DHA continued its support to OLS throughout 1996. Activities discharged by United Nations staff representing DHA in the field (UNCERO in Khartoum, and colleagues both within UNHCU in Khartoum and the OLS office in Nairobi) are described elsewhere in this report. From DHA offices in New York and Geneva, support to OLS was variously provided through: 1) information sharing and fund-raising activities, including formal consultations with donor and relief agencies in support of the annual United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal issued by DHA on behalf of the United Nations Secretary-General; 2) continued efforts to enhance the framework for cooperation including most notably the work of the United Nations Special Envoy for Humanitarian Affairs on issues of humanitarian access and operational modalities affecting both OLS and its partners in relief; 3) various support measures (fund-raising, information sharing and consultative meetings among international relief agencies, donor governments, the Government and southern movements; administration, finance and personnel services) for the independent review of OLS commissioned by DHA and completed in July 1996; 4) consultations on matters affecting OLS within the UN Secretariat, with Permanent Missions based in New York and in Geneva and with UN and other relief Agency executive heads and senior officials.

The full text of the Appeal can be downloaded as a zipped WordPerfect 6.1 text file.