SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs [19990518]

SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs [19990518]

SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs, 18 May

Annan concerned over upsurge in violence

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Monday expressed concern over fighting between government troops and rebels in southern Sudan and particularly its potential impact on humanitarian operations in the area. A statement from the Secretary General's spokesman said Annan called on both sides to "respect fully" the ceasefire agreed upon in April, and ensure the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance to "extremely vulnerable" populations in the region. Annan was reacting to the bombing of villages in Bahr el-Ghazal province on Sunday and Monday, attributed by observers to government forces.

New movement of displaced people

An estimated 1,275 new internally displaced persons (IDPs) have recently arrived at Khor camp, Ad Da'ein, in south Darfur, according to a report from the UN Humanitarian Coordination Unit in Khartoum. They are reportedly arriving at a daily average of 35 families and entering via Safaha and Mairam from parts of northern Bahr el-Ghazal and Gogrial. Most of the IDPs are reported to have paid huge sums for their transportation, from Safaha to Ad Da'ein, while those who could not afford made it on foot.

The report said an unspecified number of IDPs, mostly the weak and poor, are stranded in Safaha. An estimated 80 per cent of the new arrivals are women and children. "Men have stayed behind for fear of being labelled [rebel] Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers," the report said. With the exception of a few children showing signs of marasmus, most of the displaced were initially healthy. "Their situation could drastically deteriorate if urgent measures are not taken to address their long term needs which are primarily relief food and shelter," the report warned.

For a week, the local authorities have not given relief agencies permission to conduct an assessment of IDPs in Safaha. So far all information on their needs has been provided by the government.

Reasons cited for IDP movements

The IDPs have said they moved because of lack of food in their villages. They said the food airdrops were not sufficient for all the needy in northern Bahr el-Ghazal. Some villages are far away from drop zones and had very limited or no access to the zones. The IDPs also alleged that most of the food is being taken by SPLA forces in the area.


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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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