For more than 20 years, Sudan has been adversely impacted by armed conflict, famine, and disease, largely associated with the civil war between the Government of Sudan (GOS) and the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). Since war began in 1983, more than two million people have died, approximately 627,660 Sudanese have sought refuge in neighboring countries, and nearly four million people have been internally displaced, creating the largest internally displaced person (IDP) population in the world. Conflict has mainly affected southern Sudan and the transition zone, where North meets South. Southern Sudan has also experienced three periods of famine over the last 13 years. In 1989, the United Nations (U.N.) established Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS), a tripartite access agreement among the GOS, the SPLM/A, and the U.N. Under this framework, U.N. agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) provide humanitarian and rehabilitation assistance to vulnerable southern Sudanese. Since 1983, the United States Government (USG) has provided more than $1.9 billion in humanitarian assistance to Sudan.
Since 2001, through President George W. Bush's appointment of USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios as Special Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan and former U.S. Senator John Danforth as Special Envoy for Peace to Sudan, the USG has been at the forefront of serious and sustained international engagement with the GOS and SPLM/A to increase humanitarian access to war-affected areas and to support the peace process. By the end of 2002, USG involvement led to a formal ceasefire agreement for the Nuba Mountains area, a framework for the cessation of attacks against civilians, the establishment of periods of tranquility for special humanitarian programs, and an international inquiry on slavery in Sudan. In addition, U.S. involvement helped to establish a favorable environment for peace talks under the auspices of the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The IGAD-sponsored peace talks in Machakos, Kenya, produced the Machakos Protocol, signed by the GOS and SPLM/A on July 20, 2002, that established an overall framework for peace. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed on October 15, 2002, called for the cessation of hostilities between the Parties and unimpeded humanitarian access throughout Sudan.
As the prospects for a long-term peace settlement in southern Sudan improved in 2003 and early 2004, a new humanitarian crisis has emerged in western Sudan. The security situation in the three states of Darfur has steadily deteriorated since the Darfur-based Sudanese Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) attacked GOS security forces at Al Fasher in February 2003. Fighting between two main opposition groups -- the SLM/A and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) -- and the GOS military and militia groups supported by the GOS has intensified, while inadequate humanitarian access and systematic violence against civilian populations in Darfur has caused one of the world's most desperate humanitarian situations. According to the U.N., approximately 800,000 people are displaced out of a population of 6 million within Darfur, and more than 110,000 people have crossed the border into neighboring Chad.
Numbers at a Glance
|Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)||Total: 3,912,000
Greater Khartoum: 2,000,000
Northern Sudan (not Khartoum or Darfur): 362,000
Southern Sudan: 750,000
|Norwegian Refugee Council, 2004, and U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), 2004|
|Sudanese Refugees||Total: 627,660
Democratic Republic of Congo: 70,000
Central African Republic: 36,000
|U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 2004|
|Refugees in Sudan||Total: 270,000 from Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and others||UNHCR, 2004|
Total FY 2004 USAID/OFDA Assistance to
Total FY 2004 USG Humanitarian Assistance to Sudan: $109,618,036
Current Situation in Darfur
Restricted humanitarian access to IDPs and conflict-affected residents. Due to the GOS impediments that block travel permits and relief operations in Darfur, humanitarian access to vulnerable populations outside of the state capitals of Geneina, Al Fasher, and Nyala is extremely limited, and access to many areas is completely denied. USAID/Khartoum, U.N. agencies, and NGOs have deployed personnel to the region, but the GOS has restricted relief workers' activities to major population centers and IDP camps located in areas controlled by the GOS. Contested areas remain inaccessible. Although USAID/Khartoum and multi-agency U.N. assessment teams confirm that continued lack of implementing capacity on the ground is a significant constraint to the establishment of the full-scale humanitarian operation in Darfur that is needed to respond to the crisis, some humanitarian organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), have been denied travel permits by the GOS. Aircraft, vehicles, communications gear, and other logistical supplies sent to Sudan to support the U.N. relief mission in Darfur have been delayed in Khartoum.
The rainy season due to begin in late May will increase the difficulties for relief workers to access vulnerable populations in the more remote areas of Darfur and eastern Chad. Delivery of humanitarian assistance will become more challenging and more expensive, especially if a large air operation is required.
USG-led actions to improve humanitarian access. On February 3, 2004 USAID Administrator Natsios issued a statement expressing the USG's grave concern over the situation and urged the Parties to agree immediately to an independently monitored humanitarian ceasefire. On December 16, 2003, and March 2, 2004 the U.S. State Department issued statements calling upon GOS, Janjawiet militia, and opposition groups to allow unhindered humanitarian access to conflict-affected populations.
On March 31, opening ceremonies were held in N'Djamena, Chad, to begin negotiations on terms for a ceasefire agreement between the GOS and opposition groups that would allow full humanitarian access for the international community to vulnerable populations. USAID Assistant Administrator Roger P. Winter led the USG delegation. The GOS delegation, though present in N'Djamena, refused to participate in the opening ceremony because of the presence of international observers. As of this writing, the talks have not begun due to an on-going impasse over the role of international observers which had previously been agreed to by all parties.
Ongoing attacks against civilians. Protection of civilians has become the overriding humanitarian concern in Darfur. From March 8 to 13, representatives of USAID/Khartoum visited West Darfur and reported that the humanitarian crisis is linked directly to the violence targeted towards the Fur, Zaghawa, and Masalit groups by GOS forces and GOS-supported mounted militias, collectively known as Janjawiet. Despite a February 9 GOS statement declaring the end of military operations in Darfur, IDPs and other conflict-affected populations describe recurrent and systematic attacks against their towns and villages, burning of buildings and crops, arbitrary killings, gang rape, and looting. Advocacy groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have conducted interviews and issued reports that detail the attacks and condemn the violence against civilians. The GOS has used aerial bombardments to terrorize civilians who they say are harboring SLM/A or JEM forces, and Janjawiet militia riding in large groups on horse or camelback attack villages with impunity. Relief workers have witnessed the looting and burning of villages by Janjawiet, while GOS police and military forces in the area do nothing to stop the violence.
Although vulnerable people need food, shelter, blankets, medicine, and water, many residents are fearful to receive assistance, and some have refused aid because it may attract Janjawiet attacks. Numerous accounts of Janjawiet looting relief supplies after distribution in IDP camps and conflict-affected villages have reached relief workers in Darfur.
Insecurity disrupts humanitarian operations. Insecurity along roads has disrupted relief operations and further limited humanitarian access in Darfur. Trucking and fuel prices in Darfur have increased dramatically due to concerns about security on key transit routes including El Obeid to Al Fasher, Nyala to Al Fasher, and Nyala to Geneina. In response to the urgent food needs of IDPs in North Darfur, the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) began airlifting food from stockpiles in El Obeid to Al Fasher on February 16. According to the U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (UN RC) in Sudan, the area in and around Kutum, 110 km northwest of Al Fasher, remains the only site in North Darfur with significant humanitarian operations. The U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF), ICRC, Save the Children U.K. (SCF/UK), GOAL, and the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) are providing food, water, and medical assistance to nearly all of the estimated 132,000 IDPs in Kutum.
According to USAID/Khartoum, the implementing capacity of relief agencies in Darfur is inadequate to address the growing needs of the war-affected population. The U.N. estimates that approximately 1.18 million people in Darfur are currently affected by the conflict, and while access to vulnerable populations has improved since early February, GOS obstructionism, insecurity along major roads, lack of protection in IDP camps, and a shortage of capable implementing partners have prevented a sufficient humanitarian response.
Refugees and violence cross the border into Chad. According to UNHCR, approximately 110,000 Sudanese refugees have fled their homes in Darfur and crossed into eastern Chad since fighting began in February 2003. Most refugees are settled in small clusters in remote areas along the border. On January 29, 2004, international media and relief workers reported that GOS aircraft bombed the Chadian side of the border town Tine, where thousands of Sudanese refugees had sought protection from violence in Darfur. During recent weeks, cross-border conflict has escalated. UN OCHA reported that since early February 2004, Janjawiet have crossed nearly every day from Sudan to Chad to attack refugees and steal livestock. On March 14 and 15, Chadian defense forces crossed into Gogei, West Darfur, to reclaim stolen cattle. Due to insecurity along the border, UNHCR plans to relocate 60,000 Sudanese refugees to camps away from volatile border areas before the onset of the rainy season. To date, UNHCR has relocated more than 20,000 refugees to five camps at Farchana, Kounoungo, Touloum, Iridemy, and Goz Amer. Inadequate potable water and the remoteness of the region are the most significant challenges to humanitarian operations in eastern Chad.
Current SITUATION IN OTHER GOVERNMENT-Held AREAS
IDPs from Darfur in Khartoum. Beginning in early March 2004, IDPs from North and West Darfur began to arrive in Khartoum. As of March 10, according to USAID/Khartoum, 3,143 IDPs had arrived, including 2,178 IDPs (mostly women and children) who registered with the GOS and settled in a squatter camp at Mayo farm, and an additional 965 who moved in with relatives. University students from Darfur are assisting these new IDPs.
The GOS initially ordered the IDPs to move from Mayo camp and either return to Darfur or disperse elsewhere. On March 15, authorities sent forces to evacuate these new Darfur IDPs from the camp. The IDPs refused, supported by the university students. The GOS instructed the students to cease assistance to the IDPs, and to not talk to the press or discuss the situation at the camp. International humanitarian personnel attempted to visit the site on March 16 but were turned back by police.
On March 17, clashes broke out between Darfur students and IDPs and the police. Police fired live ammunition and tear gas into a civilian crowd, and residents reported that seven people were killed. A delegation of international diplomats attempted to enter the camp on the morning of March 18. The delegation was stopped by police outside the camp and forced to turn back. According to witnesses, GOS security personnel arrived early that morning and beat IDPs and forced them onto trucks. USAID/Khartoum estimates that 2,500 IDPs dispersed into the city following the police assault, and many families were separated during the confusion.
On March 20, the DCHA/OFDA program officer visited nearly 200 Darfur IDPs at Al Hudda, a walled compound approximately 32 km north of Khartoum. The IDPs reported that they had been forcibly relocated from Mayo camp by the police. Most of these IDPs had been driven by Janjawiet attacks from their homes in Mornei, Garsilla, and Zalengi, West Darfur. The entrances and exits to Al Hudda were under armed guard, and IDPs told the UN that they could not leave the compound. The GOS has told aid agencies that they may not work at this new site.
Increasing obstacles for humanitarian access to Southern Blue Nile. In the contested area of Southern Blue Nile, unlike in southern Sudan, the GOS has required the U.N. to request permission, rather than simply give notification of its operational plan for delivery of humanitarian assistance. Following the signing of the MOU for a cessation of hostilities in October 2002, this notification process went more or less smoothly, until February 2004. Since mid-February, the GOS has denied all flight clearances for U.N. humanitarian operations in Southern Blue Nile. As a result, WFP has been unable to deliver food assistance to the area for more than one month, and a UNICEF flight carrying a USAID-funded drilling rig for a hospital was denied access into Southern Blue Nile.
Increased assistance needed for vulnerable populations in Eastern Sudan. On the Eastern Front, near the border with Eritrea, the U.N. submitted a proposal in January 2003 to both the SPLM/A and the GOS for a cross-border needs assessment to be followed by a cross-line relief operation serving war-affected groups in the Hamish Khorib area. However, neither the GOS nor the SPLM/A have agreed to specifics. At present, inadequate aid is reaching the most adversely affected populations, and absent a sustained cross-line, cross-border program, these populations will remain highly vulnerable to hunger and disease.
USG-donated food assistance. On May 20, 2003 the GOS unilaterally issued a new policy requiring that food assistance be certified as free of genetically modified organisms (GMO). The immediate result of this policy was to block USG distribution of commodities in Port Sudan to WFP. Following a USG demarche issued on June 13, the GOS cleared the blocked USG commodities and granted to WFP a six month waiver for compliance on GMO certification requirements. The USG issued a second demarche on October 16, and the GOS granted a second six month waiver to WFP that began on January 8, 2004 and expires on July 7.
During this second six month period, USAID policy has been to continue shipments of humanitarian food assistance to Port Sudan to sustain WFP operations and avoid pipeline breaks. USAID's approval of food shipments is contingent upon transport, arrival, and clearance of food commodities prior to July 7 and that food assistance is not subject to GMO certification requirements. WFP has notified USAID that it anticipates current cereal stocks for Sudan will be exhausted by July, 2004 due in large part to the requirements of 1.18 million conflict-affected people in Darfur. To assist in averting a pipeline break, USAID's office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) recently contributed 18,700 metric tons (MT) of food aid valued at $17 million to the WFP Sudan Emergency Program. On March 29, the USG issued a third demarche urging the GOS to provide formal, written notification of a change in GMO certification requirements or a third extension for the current waiver to this policy. On March 31, the GOS extended the waiver for an additional six months, allowing WFP to distribute genetically modified food until January 7, 2005.
CURRENT SITUATION in southern sudan
Peace negotiations ongoing in Naivasha, Kenya. Although the Parties missed the deadline to conclude the framework agreement by the end of 2003, it is still hoped that the Parties will agree to a comprehensive peace agreement for southern Sudan in the coming months. The USG has increased its presence in Naivasha since late February in an attempt to facilitate an agreement on the few remaining issues. From March 18 to 21, Administrator Natsios, Senator Danforth, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Charles R. Snyder, and Assistant Administrator Roger Winter traveled to Naivasha to table a USG proposal to resolve the impasse over the disputed region of Abyei.
Militia attack against relief workers in Western Upper Nile. On February 20, armed militia attacked eight U.N. and NGO staff during a relief operation in Nimnim, Western Upper Nile. According to UN OCHA, the relief workers' temporary compound came under sustained machine-gun, rocket-propelled grenade, and mortar fire from unidentified militia forces. Still under gunfire, the relief workers fled the compound on foot as local SPLM/A forces, who nominally control the area, counter attacked. None of the relief workers were wounded, and a U.N. aircraft evacuated the team later that morning. As a result of this attack, OLS suspended relief operations to approximately 30,000 people in the area around Nimnim. This represents the first deliberate attack against relief operations in South Sudan since the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT) became active in early 2003. This indicates the continuing security dangers in parts of southern Sudan as small splinter factions shift their alliances to accommodate themselves into the new security arrangements that may emerge from what is hoped will be the final stage of North-South peace talks.
Equatoria Defense Force (EDF) and SPLM/A merge. On March 5, according to UN OCHA, the GOS-backed EDF militia officially merged with the SPLM/A to fight the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a Ugandan terrorist group that has historically used southern Sudan as a base from which to launch attacks against Ugandan civilians and military forces. LRA attacks in northern Uganda have increased in recent months, exacerbating the already poor humanitarian situation of approximately 1.4 million internally displaced Ugandans.
Localized conflict in Bahr el Ghazal and Northern Upper Nile. On March 16, according to a report issued by the NGO Pact, intense fighting broke out between the people of Aluakluak Payam, Yirol County and the people of Akot and Pacuong payams in Rumbek County. Although the residents of both areas are Dinka agro-pastoralists, local groups have a tradition of fragile relations and factional discord. Pact reported that the conflict has affected approximately 15,000 residents of Aluakluak and 5,000 from Akot and Pacuong. Fighters looted each others' seed and food stocks, and urgent humanitarian needs include seeds, food commodities, cooking pots, blankets, and mosquito nets.
Following the recent merger of SPLM/United back into SPLM/A, several small splinter armed groups have remained active in Northern Upper Nile, further disrupting humanitarian programs.
Ethiopian refugees cross into Sudan. On December 13, 2003, armed attackers killed eight people in the Gambella Region of western Ethiopia, sparking localized violence between ethnic Anuaks and ethnic Nuers. Reprisals over the next few days claimed the lives of an estimated 50 to 100 Anuaks. Violence erupted again on January 30, 2004, when approximately 200 people were killed following an armed attack on a gold mine in the Ethiopian town of Dimma. On February 6, clashes claimed an additional 40 lives at the Dimma refugee camp, home to 18,700 Sudanese refugees. UN OCHA reported on February 12 that approximately 10,000 people, including Sudanese refugees of Anuak origin, had fled from western Ethiopia to Pochalla in Jongli State, southern Sudan. In response to the insecurity, UNHCR withdrew non-essential staff from the region.
In early February, a multi-agency relief team distributed food and non-food items for 5,000 displaced people, returnees and refugees, and 1,000 residents in Pochalla. During February 2004, UNHCR indicated that 100 to 200 people were crossing the border daily and the humanitarian situation in Pochalla and surrounding areas could deteriorate.
KASSALA FLOODS SITUATION -- update
Flooding in 2003. On July 29, 2003, the Gash River in Kassala State burst its banks and reached its highest recorded level in the last 70 years. Approximately 79 percent of Kassala city was flooded, affecting about 100,000 people and destroying more than 700 homes. To assist flood victims, USAID/OFDA provided non-food commodities valued at approximately $1.5 million.
USAID/OFDA mitigation efforts. From March 1 to 4, the USAID/OFDA Hydrometeorological Hazard Advisor visited Kassala and was briefed by the Sudanese Meteorological Department, Irrigation and Water Resources Ministry, the Humanitarian Aid Commission, local authorities, and NGOs to assess and evaluate flood mitigation and preparedness options for the Gash River Basin. The Gash River is a trans-boundary river -- the majority of the river basin is located outside of Sudan in Eritrea and Ethiopia -- and represents a challenge for early warning of extreme hydrometeorlogical events. The Gash is a seasonal river that flows from July to September and carries a significant amount of sediment. The town is located below the river bed which makes residents extremely vulnerable to flooding.
USG Humanitarian Assistance
On October 2, 2003, U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Gerard M. Gallucci renewed the disaster declaration for FY 2004 for Sudan. The U.S. Mission in Sudan has declared disasters due to the complex emergency annually since 1987.
In FY 2004, USAID/OFDA aims to address humanitarian needs in Sudan while simultaneously providing an effective bridge to development activities. Within the framework of USAID's Interim Strategic Plan for Sudan, 2004-2006, USAID/OFDA has identified programmatic priorities for FY 2004 that include: providing basic humanitarian services in war-affected areas of Sudan, focusing on areas of likely IDP returns; responding to the Darfur crisis, and assisting the transition zones (Abyei, Southern Blue Nile, and Nuba Mountains). To date in FY 2004, USAID/OFDA has provided nearly $28.2 million in humanitarian assistance to both northern and southern Sudan.
To date in FY 2004, USAID/FFP has contributed 83,170 MT of emergency food assistance for Sudan valued at $61,744,000 to WFP, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), and Norwegian People's Aid (NPA). Of this total, WFP has provided 43,716 MT to food insecure populations in Darfur. In addition, USAID/FFP has provided 7,040 MT valued at $4,813,700 to support WFP's emergency operations for Sudanese Refugees in eastern Chad.
USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives (USAID/OTI) began activities in southern Sudan in FY 2003. USAID/OTI's program focuses on key transition issues in southern Sudan such as increasing access to balanced information, promoting good governance, and supporting people-to-people peace processes. To support the establishment of independent media in southern Sudan, USAID/OTI awarded the Education Development Center (EDC) a cooperative leadership award to establish a local language short wave radio service for southern Sudan. In addition, OTI provided an in-kind grant to the Sudan Mirror, the first southern Sudan newspaper. A USAID/OTI to the NGO Christian Aid seeks to improve the rule of law in southern Sudan by providing logistics and transport for the judiciary and supporting women's organizations working in the legal sector. USAID/OTI also awarded Pact, Inc. a contract for a small-grants program to provide technical assistance and capacity building to civil society groups and governance entities and to support peace and civic education initiatives.
To date in FY 2004, the Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (State/PRM) has provided $2.7 million to UNHCR to begin preparatory activities for Sudanese refugee returns to southern Sudan in the event of a peace agreement between the GOS and SPLM/A. State/PRM has also provided $5 million to UNHCR for humanitarian assistance for new Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad, including $2 million to WFP for refugee feeding, and $400,000 to the International Federation of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) for emergency activities. A further $2,900,000 is planned for the emergency in Chad. In addition, to date in FY 2004 State/PRM has committed $48 million to UNHCR and $34.3 million to ICRC for un-earmarked Africa-wide refugee assistance.
Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance
*USAID/OFDA bulletins can be obtained from the USAID web site at http://www.usaid.gov/hum=5Fresponse/ofda/publications/situation=5Freports/index.htm
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