UNAMID’s ‘Operation Spring Basket’ expands access for aid

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El Fasher, 15 May 2011 – The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur completed a second operation to open secure access to remote, conflict-affected areas, following a visit to Sarong in West Jebel Marra on 12 May.

Dubbed “Operation Spring Basket,” UNAMID along with the Office for Humanitarian Coordination and UN humanitarian agencies, are conducting a series of operations to assess and bring aid to areas which have been inaccessible due to conflict, for months if not years. The areas targeted lie in both government-controlled regions and those controlled by rebel movements.

The head of UNAMID’s Humanitarian Liaison Office Oriano Micaletti noted that the Operation has progressed well in sensitive areas since its launch on 1 May. “It has occurred in a secure environment,” he added, noting that there had been “no incident affecting civilians or humanitarian workers.”

No humanitarian assistance had been delivered to Sarong—which is under the control of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA)-- since 2009, and the area was filling with new internally displaced persons following recent fighting in East Jebel Marra.

The UN team delivered rolling water containers to 10 schools in the village, where it appeared that diarrhea and other water-borne illnesses were affecting the population due to the polluted streams they depend upon.

A poor crop harvest last year in addition to the newly displaced persons has been adding to the villagers’ stress, the UN observed, estimating child malnutrition affected some 50 percent of the young population.

Armed with the assessment at Sarong, the UN system can now plan effective aid projects and capacity building to assist population in coping with the affects of conflict in the region.

The next area to be visited will be Kaguro in North Darfur on 17 May.