18 October 2012

Sudan: Report Documents Alarming Levels of Food Insecurity, Malnutrition in South Kordofan

Khartoum — Food security and nutrition conditions in Sudan's war-torn state of South Kordofan are rapidly degenerating into alarming levels, the Enough Project warned in a new report, calling for immediate action to deliver aid if the government continues to deny access to rebel-held areas.

Sudanese refugees rest next to their UNHCR tent inside South Sudan. (photo UNHCR)

According to the "rapid food security and nutrition assessment" released by the Enough Project on Thursday, the amount of households surviving on one meal per day in South Kordofan has jumped to a staggering 81.5 percent, compared to only 9.5 percent one year ago.

The assessment, which was conducted from August 5 to August 19, 2012, also finds that the prevalence of malnutrition among children is at "serious" bordering on "critical," as per the World Health Organization's malnutrition prevalence classifications.

"More than 65 percent of households in South Kordofan have less than one week's worth of food" the report said, citing concerns over availability of food in the area and lack of incomes to purchase it.

Enough Project blamed the severe humanitarian conditions that resulted in South Kordofan on "Sudan's violent campaign against civilian populations in South Kordofan state and its intentional denial of international humanitarian aid to areas controlled by the [rebel] Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North [SPLM-N]"

The Sudanese government and the SPLM-N signed an agreement on 4 August with members of the Tripartite Initiative consisting of the UN, AU and the Arab League to assess and deliver humanitarian aid to the affected civilian population in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, where the government and the SPLM-N have been fighting since last year.

But the implementation of the deal is yet to happen as all sides traded blame for skipping preparation meetings and failure to respond to proposals.

On 9 August, the Tripartite Initiative announced that it was ready to start operating in government held areas but said it is yet to receive responses from the government and the insurgents on an action plan it proposed to start operations in areas controlled by the SPLM-N.

SPLM-N's official spokesperson Arnu Loddi told Sudan Tribune on Friday that his group was not responsible for any delays in the implementation of the deal. Instead, he blamed the Sudanese government which he accused of procrastinating because it is preparing for new military attacks.

Loddi claimed that the SPLM-N made so many concessions for the sake of allowing aid to reach the people in their area. He also revealed that his group told the Tripartite Initiative that it wants to hold a meeting in New York to discuss the problem but the Tripartite Initiative refused and accused them of seeking to "politicize" the issue of humanitarian assistance.

He reiterated his group's rejection to allowing the government to handle aid distribution in their areas. He renewed the SPLM-N commitment to cease hostilities in order to allow humanitarian operations to start.

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