March 11, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir has directed to provide 10,000 tonnes of sorghum to assist those affected by the famine in South Sudan. He further expressed his government readiness to meet humanitarian needs of large influx of refugees from the neighbouring country, said the Humanitarian Aid Commissioner
On 20 February 2017, South Sudanese government and UN agencies declared Some 100,000 people were facing starvation in the two counties of Leer and Mayiandit, while people in Koch and Panyijar nearby were considered at high risk of famine.
Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Ahmed Mohamed Adam told Sudan Tribune Saturday that they discussed with the Vice-President ways to assist victims of war and famine in South Sudan, pointing to the historic ties between the two peoples.
He said the new support would be added to a previous presidential directive to send 27,000 sacks of sorghum, pointing the relief would be transferred through the border crossing in the White Nile State.
Adam stressed that Sudan attaches great importance to the situation in South Sudan and is keen to provide all necessary assistance to its citizens, pointing to the formation of a national committee to address the deteriorating humanitarian situation there.
He pointed to the large influx of South Sudan refugees, expecting a significant increase in their numbers during the coming days.
“The number of those affected by the food shortage is estimated at 4,6 million people and some of them have reached the famine stage and others are experiencing the pre-famine stage,” he said
“More than 70,000 refugees have entered Sudan during February and the first week of March and we expect more influx” he added
The Sudanese official said the government is currently making arrangements to meet the needs of the increasing numbers of Southerners, pointing they intend to set up new refugee camps and provide the greatest amount of aid to the affected.
According to the UN, the number of South Sudanese refugees in Sudan has surpassed the 300,000 mark and as of 13 February and stands at 305,000 people.
Before the December 2013 crisis, 350,000 South Sudanese have remained in Sudan and didn’t return to their areas after the independence of South Sudan.
Also in December 2014, the Sudanese government agreed with the UN to deliver residence permits to South Sudanese refugees enabling them to circulate and to work in the country.
IMPACT ON TWO AREAS
Meanwhile, Adam didn’t rule out that South Kordofan and Blue Nile states could be adversely impacted by the situation in South Sudan, calling on the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) to accept the U.S. proposal to deliver assistance to the needy population in the Two Areas.
Adam further underscored Khartoum’s support to the U.S. proposal, pointing to the government categorical refusal to deliver the assistance to the Two Areas from abroad.
The Sudanese army has been fighting the SPLM-N in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, also known as the Two Areas since 2011.
The African Union has been seeking to end the conflict for several years. However, last August, the two sides failed to sign a humanitarian cessation of hostilities agreement because Khartoum refuses to allow the delivery of food to civilians in some rebel-controlled areas in the Blue Nile State directly through Asosa, an Ethiopian Town near the border with Sudan.
In a bid to break the deadlock in the peace talks, the former U.S. Special Envoy Donald Booth last November proposed that the USAID will deliver medical humanitarian aid to civilians in the rebel-held areas by air directly after its inspection from the government.
The SPLM-N declined the proposal insisting on the need to transport 20% of the humanitarian aid directly from Asosa to the rebel areas.