Humanitarian progress in Sudan, but significant challenges remain [EN/AR]

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 08 Aug 2012

(Khartoum, 8 August 2012) Relative stability in many parts of Darfur has meant that since January 2011 some 178,000 people have been able to return to their areas of origin. To ensure that these returns are sustainable, humanitarian actors are working to ensure that basic services are delivered in areas of return.

Incidents of fighting and new displacement, along with concerns over food insecurity following a poor harvest season mean, however, that many challenges in Darfur endure. Primary health care, midwifery training and child vaccinations remain as critical humanitarian gaps. The UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), used by almost all humanitarian personnel to access Darfur, is also facing significant funding shortfalls.

On 5 August, the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-N signed, separately, the Tripartite Memoranda of Understanding with the African Union, the League of Arab States and the United Nations on humanitarian assistance to war-affected civilians in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States. Conflict in the states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan has significantly impacted civilians, with an estimated 655,000 people being displaced or severely affected by the fighting. Reports received by the United Nations suggest that critical humanitarian needs in areas controlled by Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N) forces exist, as these areas have been cut off for many months.

The delivery of food assistance, health and nutrition services, education services, and water and sanitation all require strengthening in Blue Nile and South Kordofan States. The full extent of humanitarian requirements in SPLM-N held areas, however, will only be known after needs can be assessed. “I sincerely hope that the signing of the Tripartite Memoranda of Understanding will enable the rapid delivery of aid to all people in need, wherever they may be located,” said the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan ad interim, Mr. Mark Cutts.

In addition to the large number of people who have been internally displaced or severely affected by the fighting in Blue Nile and South Kordofan, over 200,000 refugees have fled to South Sudan and Ethiopia since June 2011.

In Abyei, while the majority of the 109,000 people who were displaced in 2011 have yet to return, over 9,000 people had returned to areas north of the Bahr el Arab/Kiir River by the end of June 2012. The recent withdrawal of all Sudanese and South Sudanese forces from the area is seen as a positive development and may pave the way for a large scale returns following the end of the rainy season.
The deadline for people of South Sudanese origin living in Sudan to regularize their status ended on 8 April amid uncertainty, as most people of South Sudanese origin remain undocumented. The embassy of South Sudan has now commenced processing emergency identification documentation, but a significant backlog still exists. Returns to South Sudan during the first half of 2012 were hindered by insecurity in border areas, but transportation of returnees remains a compelling and critical need.

The UN and humanitarian partners in Sudan are using the Humanitarian Work Plan to strategically respond to the four million people in Sudan who require humanitarian assistance and to monitor the effectiveness of this response. “Midway through the year, we continue to see people in desperate need in Sudan”, said Mr. Cutts. “The UN and partners are working to ensure that effective emergency aid reaches those who most need it and to help communities build the resilience required to cope with the impact of conflict and food insecurity.”

“In 2012, $1.1 billion is required to meet Sudan’s humanitarian needs. So far, we have met 43 per cent of this target, but further resources are needed to reach everyone in need,” the Humanitarian Coordinator said. “I thank the humanitarian donors for generously contributing to this effort and for their commitment to ensuring an effective and timely humanitarian response in Sudan.”

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