SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs [19990728]

SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs [19990728]

SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs, 28 July

Humanitarian crisis could worsen with flight ban

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) on Tuesday expressed fears of a "worsening humanitarian crisis" in southern Sudan resulting from a flight ban in the western Upper Nile which has entered its second week. The ban was announced by the Sudanese government on 14 July in the five main population and relief centres of Leer, Duar, Boaw, Nyal and Ganyiel. A WFP statement said the ban made most of the region inaccessible to relief agencies trying to deliver urgent humanitarian assistance to some 150,000 people. "We are extremely worried that unless the ban is lifted soon, we could be heading toward a humanitarian catastrophe, not unlike the famine last year," WFP's Director of Transport and Logistics Ramiro Lopes Da Silva said. "We are at a lethal mix of a weakened population which cannot be reached and are starting to flee their homes."

Following the announcement of the ban, a WFP team was forced to abandon food distributions in Nyal and Ganyiel. The agency said it was "extremely worried" about the fate of hundreds of malnourished and exhausted children they had to leave behind. WFP teams in counties surrounding the affected areas said large numbers of people are living in nearby swamps. "These swamps are malaria hot-beds," WFP in Nairobi told IRIN on Wednesday.

Government accuses rebels of disrupting humanitarian assistance

Meanwhile, the Sudanese government on Wednesday accused the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) of "disrupting" humanitarian assistance because of its "refusal" to agree to a ceasefire, the Associated Press (AP) reported. It quoted the minister for social planning, who is also in charge of relief, Hassan Dahawi, as saying the rebel's partial truce offer would only "make difficult the continuation of relief to the needy in southern Sudan".

Survey notes increase in malnutrition rates

A nutritional survey of 900 children in the displaced camps of Ed Daein in south Darfur noted that the global malnutrition rate had increased from 18 to 26 percent since the last survey was conducted in April. According to a WFP report, the survey found five percent of children were severely malnourished. Malnutrition rates for new arrivals were reportedly higher than those of existing IDPs and the rates differed from camp to camp, ranging from 24 percent in Adilla to 46.6 percent in Sherif.

Displaced in south Kordofan in urgent need of food aid

In the course of last week, over 2,000 new arrivals were registered by a joint WFP, Save the Children and the government's Humanitarian Assistance Committee mission in Abu Gebaiha and Greater Rashad provinces. The major causes of the influx were attributed to insecurity and food shortages in Haiban province in the Nuba mountains. The mission observed that the nutritional condition of the new arrivals was "poor". They had no coping mechanisms and were in urgent need of food aid, WFP reported. The food agency will provide the new arrivals with full food rations from August through October, prior to the next harvest when their food security situation will be re-assessed.


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Item: irin-english-1311

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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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