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Sudan aid needs astonishing : British official

04-03-2014, 06:27 PM
The Daily Star
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Registered: 03-26-2014
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Sudan aid needs astonishing : British official

    April 02, 2014 07:57 PM
    Agence France Presse
    Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir (L) welcomes Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani as he arrives at Khartoum Airport for an official visit April 2, 2014. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah
    Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir (L) welcomes Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani as he arrives at Khartoum Airport for an official visit April 2, 2014. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah





    KHARTOUM: There is a danger the international community will ignore Sudan's "astonishing" aid needs, just as the situation in parts of the country deteriorates, a British aid official said Wednesday.

    "The numbers are truly astonishing," said Cate Turton, of Britain's Department for International Development.

    She was speaking at the inauguration of theandnbsp;United Nationsandnbsp;and partners 2014 plan for addressing Sudan's humanitarian needs.

    The UN says assisting the 6.1 million needy people -- more than half of them in theandnbsp;Darfurandnbsp;region -- will require $995 million.

    "The situation in Darfur and Southandnbsp;Kordofanandnbsp;is rapidly deteriorating," and a large number of refugees are arriving from South Sudan, Turton said.

    "Resources are very short, and I think we are extremely concerned as donors in the international community that Darfur risks slipping off the international community's radar screen," leavingandnbsp;Sudanandnbsp;without the resources to meet its aid needs, she said.

    The UN says that at the end of March about 200,000 people were newly-displaced by fighting in Darfur, on top of about two million who had already been uprooted in the region's 11-year conflict.

    International peacekeepers in Darfur have said the main cause of displacement in March was alleged attacks by a paramilitary unit against villages and camps for the displaced.

    Sudan's government dismissed the comment as nonsense.

    In South Kordofan andandnbsp;Blue Nileandnbsp;states, nearly three years of government-rebel fighting have displaced or severely affected 1.1 million people, the UN says.

    Close to 60,000 people are also reported to have crossed into Sudan since December when fighting began between government and rebel forces in neighbouring South Sudan.

    The UN's Office for the Coordination ofandnbsp;Humanitarian Affairsandnbsp;(OCHA) reported last week that only 5.5 percent of the $995 million requested for aid work this year has been funded.

    While needs increase, the percentage of funding obtained has fallen in each of the past three years, OCHA says.

    This is partly because of competing needs in other countries but also a result of donor concerns about access in Sudan, requirements for travel permits, and other factors, an OCHA briefing paper says.

    After weeks of little progress in requests to authorities for aid access in Darfur after the recent displacements, there was significant improvement at the end of March, OCHA said.

    Access to government-held parts of South Kordofan and Blue Nile has "moderately improved" but civilians in rebel-held areas remain cut off from any assistance from inside Sudan, OCHA says.

    Authorities say access restrictions are necessary to ensure the safety of aid workers.

    Suleiman Abdel Rahman, commissioner of Sudan's Humanitarian Aid Commission, told Wednesday's aid plan inauguration that Sudan is ready to support local and foreign aid groups in accessing the needy anywhere in Sudan.

    But he said this must be done "while taking into account the protection" of those aid workers.

    In 2009 Sudan expelled several international aid groups from Darfur after the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir.

    He is wanted for alleged crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in Darfur.

    andnbsp;
                  

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