Sudan: UN Humanitarian Chief Calls for Urgent Support to Sudan

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.
2 November 2019

Khartoum — The United Nations on Sunday said it was encouraged by the priority the Government of Sudan is placing on peace building and conflict resolution across the country.

UN Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock, currently concluding a three day visit to the Sudan where he conferred with senior officials including the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Sovereign Council, welcomed Sudan's commitment to improve access for humanitarian organizations to reach people in need.

A press release by the UN office in Khartoum said the visiting UN official acknowledged the positive steps taken thus far. "In the last few days the new Government has taken real and important decisions to improve access, and the situation is already notably better than it has been for years", said Mr. Lowcock.

He noted that reducing administrative procedures are crucial to facilitate movement for aid workers inside the country. The Government is also supporting efforts to access areas still under the control of non-state armed groups.

The official has meanwhile appealed to the international community to work for helping Sudan overcome current crisis brought by host of adverse climatic factors as well as the economic hardships.

"The humanitarian situation is deteriorating for millions of people, particularly in the central and eastern regions, as the country strives to address the effects of erratic weather, multiple disease outbreaks and the economic crisis" he stressed in the release.

The under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock pointed out that it was a crucial time for Sudan and that the UN must make sure that people have their most basic needs met.

The release said the deepening economic crisis, the climate crisis and pockets of violence also continue to drive humanitarian needs. More than 8.5 million people require food, nutrition, protection or other assistance to survive and millions of others struggle to make ends meet. These numbers are projected to grow. Years of conflict have left nearly two million people displaced in the Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile areas of Sudan.

It said during a visit to Kassala, in eastern Sudan, the Emergency Relief Coordinator met local communities who have been affected by recent economic and climate shocks and recurrent disease outbreaks.

The UN stressed that the economic crisis has a very direct impact on ordinary people's lives, particularly for women and girls who live in an area with ongoing dengue and malaria outbreaks, yet cannot afford to pay for medicines. It pointed out to the recurrent droughts and floods which meant people could not grow enough food.

The release said in Kassala State, eastern Sudan, over 400,000 people are in crisis levels of food insecurity and only 13 per cent of the rural communities have access to safe water. Communicable disease outbreaks are proliferating at the same time as the economic situation hampers the Government's capacity to respond.

"There are acute shortages of basic medicines and health services across the country." It stressed.

"More and faster humanitarian assistance is essential to ensure earlier progress is made in meeting the reasonable aspirations of the people of Sudan." The humanitarian chief concluded, stressing at the end of his visit the fragility of the situation in the Sudan.

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