$26M humanitarian aid for 'unexpected' needs in Sudan

Humanitarian aid to be airlifted to Sudan for refugees who fled fighting in the country's Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states. Photo by: F. Kasina / UNHCR

The United States is sending humanitarian aid to refugees affected by monthslong fighting in the Sudanese border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

U.S. President Barack Obama is authorizing the release of $26 million from the U.S. Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund. It will be coursed through the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Bloomberg reports.

Close to 140,000 refugees, mostly in South Sudan and Ethiopia, are expected to benefit from the assistance. However, it is still not enough to cover 250,000 people, who, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development, are on the brink of famine,The Associated Press reports.

The presidential memorandum authorizing the money’s release notes the aid is in response to the “unexpected” needs related to the humanitarian crisis resulting from the conflict. It is difficult to imagine what these unexpected needs could be, however, given the duration of the conflict.

Fighting between the Sudanese government and rebels has dragged on for months since South Sudan’s secession in July, with the main issue centering on oil. Several organizations and news reports have also highlighted the humanitarian crisis in the region, including New York Times reporter Nicholas Kristoff, who smuggled his way to the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan. Kristoff witnessed firsthand the plight of the Sudanese people sandwiched in the conflict.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.