SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs [19991021]

SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs [19991021]

SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs, 21 October


Annan welcomes ceasefire Churches speak out on relocations Over 1.6 million affected by Khartoum floods Western Upper Nile security still serious NGOs report population movements

Annan welcomes ceasefire

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan last week welcomed the decision of the Sudanese government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) to extend their ceasefire - which was due to expire on 15 October - for another three months. In a statement, Annan urged the parties to the conflict to "redouble their efforts" to secure a "comprehensive and lasting peace" in the context of the forthcoming Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) talks. The SPLM/A declared a ceasefire covering Bahr el Ghazal, western Upper Nile and central Upper Nile to enhance access to populations in need of humanitarian assistance. But a comprehensive ceasefire "will be the result of progress in the peace talks and not vice-versa", SPLM/A spokesman Samson Kwaje said in a statement.

Churches speak out on relocation of displaced people

A roundtable meeting of the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC) last week expressed concern over the government's proposal to relocate some 200,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in camps around Khartoum. "The situation of IDPs in the camps is desperate, most have no money for medical services or school fees and they have very little to protect themselves from the extremes of the weather," it said in a statement. "Now the government plans to move them even further out into the countryside, where basic services are inadequate or in some cases, non-existent." The SCC also deplored recent incidents in Catholic schools in Khartoum where police and armed security forces were sent to schools for "no apparent reason", frightening both pupils and teachers.

Over 1.6 million people affected by Khartoum floods

More than 1.6 million people were affected by the August floods in the Elbugaa, El Ameer, El Salam and West Suburb areas of Khartoum State, according to an OCHA report, issued this month. It said more than 30,000 houses were destroyed and an equal number damaged. Fifteen schools were completely damaged and 53 partially. OCHA said the priority activities included cleaning drains and clearing debris from under bridges. The provision of tents and plastic sheets for temporary roofing had helped victims to safely store their belongings. Safe water access and increased healthcare was also provided.

In El Gezira State, vast areas received heavy rainfall which affected some 164,000 people and over 20,000 houses damaged, the report said. Some 45 schools and 30 health centres were partly damaged. The main causes of flooding were the sudden heavy rainfalls, poor drainage and poor planning of villages. The report said stagnant water caused widespread mosquito breeding, leading to an expected increase in malaria.

Security situation in Western Upper Nile still serious

The current security situation in Western Upper Nile remains serious with most areas restricted, except for Toy and Pabuong where assessment teams were allowed to stay overnight, Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) said in its latest weekly update. In addition, Koch and Boaw were not accessible because of poor weather. Fighting continued in the area around Bentiu, Wang Kai and Mayom towns. OLS said fighting was also expected to escalate around Leer and Adok and so the plan to take non-food items by Buffalo aircraft to Wicok, Toy and then on to other locations, was suspended until a security assessment can be carried out.

NGOs report population movements

NGOs have reported population movements from Bentiu, Pariang and Mayom to the rural areas of Nhialdhiu, Rumnagai and Dorkhan due to ongoing insecurity, OLS said. It said the evacuation of humanitarian personnel from locations in Unity State had resulted in the suspension of all but the most critical humanitarian interventions such as supplementary feeding for malnourished children. The report said that WFP could not access some 30,000 beneficiaries targeted for monthly food rations. A further 1,200 malnourished children in selective feeding centres in Mayom, Ru-Kona and Bentiu faced food shortages when WFP stocks in the centres ran out.

Meanwhile NGOs in Kosti reported the arrival of newly-displaced persons in Gos e Salam camp. OLS said that while the majority of new arrivals were displaced from Melut province in Upper Nile State, a significant number were said to have arrived from Unity State.


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

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