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UN relief chief voices concern over worsening humanitarian situation in Sudan

UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos.
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos.

UN relief chief voices concern over worsening humanitarian situation in Sudan

The United Nations emergency relief coordinator today voiced concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states in Sudan, and called for unrestricted access for aid agencies so they can assist people in need.

“Hundreds of thousands of people remain trapped in the conflict zone with little access to food, water, shelter and medical services,” said Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos in a statement.

“In order to respond to these growing needs, humanitarian agencies need unimpeded and complete access to all areas. I remain especially concerned that there continues to be no access to areas controlled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N),” she said.

Thousands of people are also crossing into neighbouring countries each day after fleeing conflict and related food shortages in Sudan and, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the number of Sudanese refugees arriving in South Sudan and Ethiopia has more than doubled since April, amounting to 200,000.

“The new arrivals are in a desperate state, with large numbers of children in urgent need of treatment for malnutrition,” Ms. Amos said.

While the Sudanese Government announced its acceptance of the Tripartite Proposal of the African Union (AU), the Arab League and the UN for the delivery of humanitarian assistance in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, the Government has laid out operational conditions that do not allow for the delivery of assistance by neutral parties in SPLM-N-controlled areas, Ms. Amos noted.

“I therefore continue to call on the Government of Sudan to deliver on its stated commitment: that assistance can reach all Sudanese people in need,” Ms. Amos said, reiterating the UN’s commitment to work with all parties to “find an acceptable solution for the immediate delivery of assistance to all people in need.”

Ms. Amos also welcomed the joint World Food Programme (WFP) and Government verification exercise that recently took place in six Government-controlled areas of South Kordofan, noting that food distribution had already begun, with the initial aim of reaching more than 100,000 people.