Amos in Sudan to push for humanitarian access

Valerie Amos, United Nations under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator. Photo by: Mark Garten / U.N.

Valerie Amos started on Monday a four-day trip mission to Sudan, and one of her stops is Darfur, where a decade-long humanitarian emergency is not only not improving but getting even worse in the past two years.

The U.N. humanitarian chief will tour the camps for internally displaced persons in the region, which remains a humanitarian emergency ten years since the Darfur conflict erupted in 2003. More than 300,000 IDPs have arrived at the camps since the start of 2013.

“[That’s] more than the previous two years combined,” U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs spokesperson Damian Rance told Devex.

Amos will meet with aid groups and discuss how to improve conditions in the camps amid reduced humanitarian funding and limited NGO capacity. Rance said many NGOs with camp management expertise have left over the years, while this year’s humanitarian appeal for Sudan is only 30 percent funded.

The conflict-torn states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile are also part of the agenda. Amos will meet with Sudanese officials to discuss the situation and urgent need for full humanitarian access.

The humanitarian condition in the two states have been a major concern of aid groups in Sudan. Recently, some U.N. agencies such as the World Food Program were able to resume operations in Blue Nile, but heir activities are limited to government-controlled areas.

International NGOs are still banned in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

In early May, U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Ali Al-Za’tari said the Sudanese goverment and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North “considered favorably” a halt in fighting in the two states for a week to pave the way for a vaccination campaign spearheaded by U.N. agencies.

The world body however has yet to secure formal commitments from both parties to push through with the campaign, targeted in areas not controlled by the government, and past experience shows that chances are slim.

SPLM-N secretary-general Yasir Arman released a statement ahead of Amos’ arrival, calling on the humanitarian chief to also consider meeting with the group’s leadership and visit areas under their control. He said Khartoum is “not interested” in addressing the humanitarian crisis there and is only “using the visits of high-profile international officials to give lip service to the humanitarian situation.”

Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.

About the author

  • 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.

Join the Discussion