SHARE
COPY LINK

RED CROSS

Red Cross set to resume Sudanese aid work

The Geneva-based Red Cross said on Monday that Sudan had ended a ban on its aid operations, imposed by the government in February.

Red Cross set to resume Sudanese aid work
Photo: Julius Kusuma

In a statement, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Khartoum had opted to lift the suspension even though discussions on the issue had not yet wrapped up.
   
"The lifting of the suspension while the dialogue continues is a positive step," said Jean-Christophe Sandoz, head of the ICRC delegation in Sudan.
   
"It will allow us to resume our humanitarian work and our aid will again reach conflict- and violence-affected people. This is good news," he said.
   
Sudan called a halt to ICRC operations on February 1, accusing the neutral, Swiss-based aid organization of violating guidelines for working in the war-torn country.
   
Specifically, Khartoum said that the ICRC had failed in some cases to work via the Sudanese Red Crescent Society.
   
The ICRC had only cited "technical issues" as the reason for the suspension.
   
The restriction came after a string of moves against other foreign aid organizations in the country, where rebels are fighting the government in Darfur, the Kordofan region and Blue Nile state.
   
"Our priority is to have our staff back on the ground as quickly as possible," said Sandoz.
   
"As the humanitarian situation has changed since February, we will start by carrying out assessments of needs in conflict areas. We will then decide on what can be done, and re-adapt our capacity accordingly," he added.
   
The ICRC has been working in Sudan since 1978.
   
In 2003, it extended its operations to Darfur, where it helps people suffering the effects of armed conflict and other violence.
   
As a neutral intermediary, the Red Cross has facilitated the handover and repatriation of numerous prisoners held by armed groups in the troubled Darfur region.
   
The agency has also provided health services, food aid, seeds, tools, hand pumps and other assistance which helped more than 1.5 million people in restive parts of the country last year.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

RED CROSS

South Sudan civil war victims face famine

Tens of thousands of people forced to flee violence in South Sudan could go hungry, with fighting interrupting the planting season and cutting off supply chains, the Geneva-based Red Cross warned Monday.

South Sudan civil war victims face famine
Photo: Julius Kusuma

Civil war broke out in South Sudan in December 2013, when president Salva Kiir accused his sacked deputy Riek Machar of attempting a coup.
   
Most recently civilians have been uprooted from the opposition-held town of Leer, in an oil-rich part of Unity State, and from Kodok in Upper Nile State, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.
   
It cautioned that hostilities could sever escape routes, and said it feared civilians could suffer from a lack of food and health care while on the run.
   
In addition, the displacement from Leer, including of many people already uprooted by fighting in Unity state a year ago, “comes just as the country's crucial planting period is under way,” ICRC said in a statement.
   
“The upheaval will no doubt negatively impact residents' ability to plant food that would be used to feed their families next harvest season,” it said.
   
The fighting had also forced the ICRC to halt its regular activities and reduce its staff in Leer, where the organization has one of its largest food
distributions in the world.
   
“Prolonged displacement exposes people to suffering. We fear that the situation of some 100,000 people in Leer, who are now hiding in unimaginably difficult conditions, will worsen day by day,” said Franz Rauchenstein, who heads the ICRC's delegation in South Sudan.
   
“The ICRC must be able to access these communities. We call upon all involved in the fighting to facilitate the lifesaving work of Red Cross workers,” he added.
   
The fighting in the world's newest country, which only gained independence from Sudan in 2011, has been characterized by ethnically-driven massacres, rape and attacks on civilians and medical facilities.
   
The violence, which has escalated into an ethnic conflict involving multiple armed groups, has killed tens of thousands of people.
   
ICRC said Monday that intensified shelling in the area of Kodok town was endangering the lives of patients at a hospital it supports there, and said
that although the hospital remained open, it had moved its nearby operational base to Oriny.
   
It reminded all parties involved in the fighting that civilians and medical facilities cannot be targeted, according to international law.
   
“The more fighting in South Sudan expands, the more . . . the vulnerable will suffer, whether from the risk of sexual violence, a lack of food and medicine or forced conscription of the young,” ICRC said, stressing that using children under the age of 15 as soldiers is a war crime.

SHOW COMMENTS