Posted by: africanpressorganization | 12 March 2009

Darfur / Humanitarian




Darfur / Humanitarian


EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan, March 12, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Daily press briefing by the office of the spokesperson for the UN secretary-general



And on the humanitarian front, the United Nations is continuing to compile information on the impact of the orders given to the non-governmental organizations to cease operations in northern Sudan, including Darfur. 


According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, as of 10 March, 183 international staff have already left the country, with others awaiting exit visas to depart.


Another issue of particular concern is for the safety of national and international staff on the ground following repeated incidents of intimidation and harassment.  In addition, reports continue of efforts to confiscate non-governmental organization, United Nations and donor-owned equipment.  The United Nations has requested the Government of the Sudan to return these items. 


Information is reaching us from Abyei, Blue Nile State and Southern Kordofan State — which were located along the frontlines during the north-south civil war and which have been particularly hard-hit by the country’s decades of warfare — and also eastern Sudan, which includes three other States.


It should be remembered that many of the agencies asked to leave these areas have been working in the Sudan for decades.  While the information is still incomplete, the departure of these non-governmental organizations will affect hundreds of thousands of people in these non-Darfur areas.


In South Kordofan, for example, the non-governmental organizations affected provided health, nutrition, water, sanitation, education, food security and other assistance.  Up to 800,000 people could be affected by the departure of non-governmental organizations working in health and nutrition, while those benefiting from interventions in water and sanitation number up to 400,000, and from assistance in food security up to 200,000.  In Blue Nile and Kassala, the International Rescue Committee alone served over 100,000 people.


Meanwhile, in Kalma camp, today, a United Nations inter-agency team visited the camp; that was yesterday, excuse me, to assess and respond to the urgent needs in the water, sanitation and health sectors.  They found that water and sanitation conditions are deteriorating. 


In Zam Zam camp, distributions of non-food items have stopped due to the departure of a non-governmental organization amidst a cavalcade of new arrivals in recent months, and there are reportedly health concerns, including increased diarrhoea and eye infections. 


The joint United Nations-Government technical assessment mission to evaluate food, water, health and emergency shelter situations in Darfur commenced today.  And more information from this mission should be available next week.  And there is more information upstairs on the various assessments and what they’re doing in order to look into how critical humanitarian needs will have to be met.


Many of the non-governmental organizations that have been expelled have been integral to this massive logistical effort in previous years.


SOURCE : United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General


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