In Sudan: 'No progress in sight' on humanitarian access to conflict-torn states

A woman carrying her belongings seek refuge at a U.N. Mission in South Sudan base after fleeing the fighting between the Sudan People's Liberation Army and an armed group on March 6 in Pibor, Jonglei State. Photo by: Martine Perret / U.N.

Aid organizations are expecting a number of challenges in the implementation of a humanitarian workplan for Sudan which is due for a formal launch on Wednesday.

The Sudanese government has approved the United Nations’ 2013 humanitarian workplan for the country, which asks for $983.4 million. The bulk of the plan, initially released in November, is focused on programs relating to food security and livelihood promotion.

Aid groups, however, fear the fragile food security situation in Sudan could be “easily” threatened by high food prices, conflict and insecurity. Tribal clashes in Jebel Amir and North Darfur’s El-Serif since the start of the year have led to the displacement of more than 100,000 people.

The plan does not cover areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile under the control of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North. There are an estimated 350,000 and 70,000 displaced people in need of assistance in rebel-held areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, respectively, but the figures come from various sources and cannot be independently verified by the United Nations.

A source who spoke to Devex on condition of anonymity said there’s “no progress in sight [on humanitarian access in the areas] and no new talks so far.” The meeting the African Union hosted last week only focused on security at the border areas, the source added.

The Sudan-South Sudan Joint Political and Security Committee is expected to discuss issues concerning rebel groups at a meeting next week, Sudan Tribune reports. How this will contribute to stalled negotiations concerning humanitarian access in the rebel-held areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, however, remains to be seen.

“I honestly believe that the SPLM-N is as guilty in preventing access to their areas,” the source said.

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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.