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UN Relief Coordinator urges protection of civilians in Sudan conflict

UN Relief Coordinator urges protection of civilians in Sudan conflict

Kenzo Oshima
The United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator today expressed concern over the plight of thousands of displaced people in southern Sudan, and called on the parties to the armed conflict there to exert restraint over their soldiers to avoid endangering civilian lives.

Kenzo Oshima said he was "deeply concerned" over the humanitarian consequences of the intensified fighting caused by the recent offensive of the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA). That fighting has resulted in the displacement of an estimated 30,000 civilians in Bahr al Ghazal state.

"These events are of particular concern as they not only bring about further deterioration of humanitarian conditions in the area, but also threaten access and the delivery of humanitarian aid to hundreds of thousands of affected people," Mr. Oshima's office said in a statement issued today in New York.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has activated its Emergency Response Team, including the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and non-governmental organizations, to plan and coordinate an effective and timely response to the current crisis, the statement said.

The Government of the Sudan is providing transport for some of the most vulnerable civilians fleeing the fighting, OCHA said.