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UN sets up emergency response team to help displaced Sudanese

UN sets up emergency response team to help displaced Sudanese

The United Nations announced today the setting up of a new emergency response team in the Sudan to support government efforts to help tens of thousands of displaced civilians fleeing fighting in the western Bahr el Ghazal State.

The situation is reaching crisis levels as some 30,000 people flee their homes, according to David Courrie, an official of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Khartoum. In a phone interview, he told the UN News Service that for the most part, the displaced "have been found to be in quite bad shape already, especially those who haven't made it to some of the major centres."

Mr. Courrie added that the coming rains were rendering many roads impassable and complicating efforts to deliver aid to those in need.

The new team, which will meet regularly until the immediate crisis is contained, comprises representatives of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), non-governmental organizations and donor governments in Khartoum.

According to OCHA, the team will complement the local relief efforts in the area. Efforts are now under way to assess the situation, and mechanisms are being established to respond to the crisis, including addressing the special needs of children under five years of age and those separated from their parents.

From a forward base in Ed Daein, food, water, essential drugs and vaccines, shelter materials and other supplies are already beginning to reach those affected, and temporary facilities are being put in place to care for them out of the war-affected areas.