Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How the aid expulsions are effecting other areas of Sudan

The Sudan kicking out aid organizations has hurt the people of Darfur, but it also effects many other areas of the country too. The expulsions may have kicked out the only aid group for a certain area. The Overseas Development Institute says that areas in Eastern and Southern Sudan may have no aid groups working there at all.

From this IRIN article that we found at All Africa, we learn how the expulsions hurt other battleground areas destroyed by the Sudan war.

NGO expulsions have left humanitarian gaps not only in Darfur, but also in eastern Sudan and the so-called Three Areas bordering on Southern Sudan, Abyei, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile - volatile regions key to the success of a 2005 peace accord.

"The expulsions have left large parts of the Three Areas and eastern Sudan without humanitarian assistance or recovery and reintegration support," writes Sara Pantuliano, research fellow with the Humanitarian Policy Group of the Overseas Development Institute. "Unlike in Darfur, there is very little additional capacity beyond the expelled agencies to even attempt to fill these gaps."

Before its expulsion, Oxfam GB was working in Red Sea State, eastern Sudan. "We have been working with very remote, marginalised communities who have very little support from anywhere else," Alun McDonald, Oxfam GB regional media and communications officer for Horn, East and Central Africa, told IRIN. The region, which has high rates of poverty, malnutrition and illiteracy, often suffers regular floods and droughts.

"Last time the floods hit, many villages were submerged and thousands of people lost their homes, animals and farms... if the floods strike again this year, with nearly all the aid agencies expelled, communities will be extremely vulnerable," McDonald said. "The decision to expel us from eastern Sudan will affect the poorest people in the state."

Children at risk

Kassala and Red Sea states have the highest malnutrition rates in Sudan, according to ODI. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimates that the expulsions will leave more than 100,000 vulnerable children in northern Sudan without support.

Access to health services has also been reduced in Southern Kordofan. According to the UN World Health Organization (WHO), at least 30 percent of the state's health facilities remain without direct implementing partner support, and may suspend services in routine immunisation, nutrition and feeding programmes following the expulsions.

"...The expulsion means we can no longer support 56 health clinics that we've helped to build or rehabilitate since the peace agreement in 2005. We can no longer provide these clinics with essential medicines, staff training or support for community health education initiatives," Kurt Tjossem, International Rescue Committee (IRC) regional director for the Horn and East Africa region, told IRIN.

Before its expulsion, the IRC was working in Kassala, Red Sea, Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan "... supporting... lifesaving medical care, water, sanitation and livelihoods for around 1.1 million people".

Now, the IRC has been forced to stop its water and sanitation programmes in these areas. Fewer than 40 percent of the population of Kassala and Red Sea states have access to safe drinking water.

"In former SPLM [Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement, which governs Southern Sudan and is a partner in the national unity government, GNU] areas of both Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, particularly Kaoda and Kurmuk, NGOs deliver most essential services," according to the ODI.

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