SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs, 11 August [19990811]

SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs, 11 August [19990811]

Date: Wed, 11 Aug 1999 21:46:01 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> To: Subject: SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs Message-ID: <> MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII

SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs, 11 August

Annan welcomes ceasefire

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Friday welcomed the Sudan government's declaration of a "comprehensive" ceasefire throughout the country for a period of 70 days. In a statement, Annan said the ceasefire would facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance by road, air and river to all areas in need. "A ceasefire is essential for the provision of much needed humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of civilians, mostly women and children affected by the ongoing conflict," Annan said. He called on the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) to consider extending the scope of a ceasefire it declared in mid-July for Bahr-El-Ghazal and western and central Upper Nile, "and thus contribute to the creation of an enabling environment for humanitarian operations in the Sudan," the statement said.

Red Cross sounds flood alarm

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said that severe flooding in Sudan caused by unusually heavy rains has destroyed more than 10,000 homes and left 50,000 people in "urgent need of assistance." In a statement received by IRIN on Wednesday, the Federation said levels of major rivers were exceedingly high for this time of the year and, with the rainy season having barely begun, "the scale of disaster is alarming." Worst-affected so far is Khartoum State where 11 flood-related deaths have been recorded, followed by the areas of River Nile, North Kordofan, Sennar and Gezira. "Other flood-prone states are on full alert including Kassala, Gedaref, White Nile and Northern State," the statement said.

Up to 100,000 flood-affected need medical help

The Sudanese Red Crescent has begun a relief operation with "limited in-country resources," the Federation said. Teams of trained Red Crescent volunteers have been mobilised in all affected and alerted states. A public information campaign was underway to warn of the associated health risks and provide advice on preventive measures. It reported that cases of diarrhoeal diseases were already increasing in affected areas, and contaminated stagnant water would worsen the situation. Federation assessments indicated that medical intervention was required to help up to 100,000 people at this stage, but it said "there is a shortage of crucial health and relief supplies. The immediate needs of flood victims are shelter, blankets and access to clean water." Meanwhile, the Governor of Khartoum State has said that the flood levels were higher than those of 1998 when dozens of people were killed and thousands of homes were destroyed, the UN Humanitarian Coordination Unit (UNHCU) reported in its latest update, received by IRIN on Wednesday.

Flight bans lifted in three locations

Flight bans imposed by the Sudanese government have been lifted in Leer, Daur and Bor, the UNHCU update said. However, it said air access to Nyal and Ganyiel in western Upper Nile remained prohibited. Khartoum had cited "security concerns" as the reason for the ban. The report said the government had indicated that fighting in the region was now scaling down and that the flight restrictions for the two locations would be "lifted very shortly."

Coordination of humanitarian assistance

The Khartoum Regional Coordination Group (RCG) - recently formed as part of the new Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) coordination structure for the northern sector - has "noted with concern" the government's recent announcement of its plans to relocate some 230,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from four Khartoum camps to locations which have "limited social amenities," the UNHCU report said. The affected IDPs currently reside in the Jebel Aulia, Mayo Farms, Wad el Bashir and El Salaam camps. The RCG, comprising UN agencies and international NGOs, stressed the need to provide adequate basic amenities, such as water and health services, before relocations are carried out to avoid a humanitarian crisis. It also said relocations should not take place during the rainy season because of the difficulty of building new houses.

Minister accuses NGOs of "false claims"

Sudan's External Affairs Minister Mustafa Uthman Ismail at the weekend said that Norwegian People's Aid (NPA), Christian Solidarity International (CSI) and the Sudan Human Rights Organisation were collaborating with the rebel movement in an attempt to "destabilise Sudan and put pressure on the government," SUNA reported. Ismail told journalists that these organisations "are working to arouse international and regional public opinion against the Sudan by circulating false allegations." He said the government was "working to expose the falsehood of these allegations."

SPLM changes its "strategy"

SPLM leader John Garang on Friday said his movement had changed its strategy and was now dealing with "development issues and the provision of various types of services to people." He told journalists in Nairobi that since there has been no significant government offensive since 1997, "what we are doing in the south now is developmental - concentrating on the building of civil structures and even economic development, provision of services to our people." Garang said his movement was now operating over 2,000 elementary schools, which was "an indication of changing phase from a purely military to a developmental phase."


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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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