SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs [19990908]

SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs [19990908]

SUDAN: IRIN News Briefs, 8 September

Kenyan envoy leaves Khartoum for Norway

Kenyan presidential envoy to the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Daniel Mboya, has left Khartoum for Norway to discuss issues relating to the next round of IGAD-mediated peace talks, scheduled for 24 September in Nairobi. An official at the Kenyan foreign ministry told IRIN on Wednesday Mboya received an invitation from the IGAD Partners' Forum in Norway requesting him to pass through Khartoum before proceeding to Norway. The envoy left for Khartoum over the weekend to meet government officials to "reactivate" the IGAD efforts, a Sudanese newspaper 'Al-Ra'y al-Amm' reported.

Foreign firms invited to invest in oil

Sudan's Energy Minister Awad Elijaz on Tuesday invited foreign firms to invest in the development of the country's oil fields, news organisations reported. He reportedly told journalists that there are indications of oil in each of Sudan's 26 states. "These reserves could be large. The government has decided to exploit them," Reuters quoted him as saying. He said although it was premature to put a precise figure on the country's reserves, only 10 percent of the field from where the first 100,000 barrels had come was being exploited. "We are open to everyone who wants to invest in our country," he added.

"Fewer than expected" people noted in various locations

A joint needs assessment team comprising WFP staff from the northern and southern sectors carried out a mission in five locations along the lower Sobat river corridor where they noted "fewer than expected" people in some locations, indicating recent population movement. An Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) southern sector report said the locations visited included Baliet, Adong, Abwong, Guel Achel and Dini in the Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei areas. The team reported an erratic rainfall pattern in the areas assessed but said the first harvest of green maize was being consumed while beneficiaries awaited the main harvest of sorghum.

IDPs in Kassala

Over 3,600 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are living at the Debalawet IDP camp, located in a semi-arid area some 20 km from Kassala town, OLS reported. It said the IDPs live in scattered settlements and rely on the "seasonal Gash river for water". According to the report, the IDPs were displaced from Shalolob village near the border with Eritrea, by insecurity in 1998. WFP monitoring staff reported high incidents of malaria and diarrhoea in the area and lack of health and sanitation services.

NGO appeals for assistance to flood-affected

The international NGO, Action by Churches Together (ACT), is appealing for some US $82,255 to assist over 100,000 people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance following the current floods in several parts of Sudan. ACT says the floods which have resulted from the "unusually heavy" rains have damaged and destroyed more than 20,000 homes, drinking water sources and latrines. This was posing "serious health hazards", especially in the form of malaria and diarrhoeal diseases.

IDP camps "marginally affected"

The IDP camps seem to be marginally affected so far by the recent floods in the Greater Khartoum area, OLS northern sector reported. It said NGOs with projects in five camps of Wad el Bashir, Jabel Awalia, Karton Kassala, As Salaam and Mayo have already engaged in flood mitigation plan by digging trenches, stocking the hospitals with drugs, chlorinated water and positioned plastic sheeting. "The damage so far does not seem to warrant dramatic action." However, judging from last year, the situation may quickly revert to a serious crisis, especially if the rains in Kordofan and Ethiopia continue at the present rate, OLS warned. Meanwhile, UNICEF reported an outbreak of severe watery diarrhoea in Mayo camp.


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

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