Joint UN Press Release – UN agencies in Sudan reach conflict-affected communities in non-government-controlled areas for first time in a decade (13.06.2021)

United Nations humanitarian agencies have not been able to reach or provide life-saving assistance to support people in the five locations since 2011.

KHARTOUM, Sudan, June 13, 2021 – For the first time in ten years, United Nations humanitarian agencies have been able to access conflict-affected communities in the five non-governmental areas controlled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) El Hilu in South Kordofan and Blue Niles states of Sudan.

A series of humanitarian missions to the five isolated enclaves has concluded, just as renewed peace talks between the Government of Sudan and SPLM-N are ongoing in Juba, South Sudan. These five areas have largely been cut-off from support over the last decade and the missions’ findings indicate people are in dire need of improved food security, education, health, and water and sanitation services.

“This response marks a significant breakthrough in humanitarian access and response to conflict-affected communities previously unreached by UN humanitarian assistance. We commend the local efforts to support essential needs during the years of hardship. The humanitarian community in Sudan is calling for increased access and critically needed assistance to support these marginalized communities,” said Khardiata Lo N’diaye, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General and Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan.

United Nations humanitarian agencies have not been able to reach or provide life-saving assistance to support people in the five locations since 2011, when conflict broke out between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-N. Gaining humanitarian access to these communities provides a critical opportunity to improve lives and rebuild livelihoods.

“Communities in these areas have been struggling and surviving on little or nothing for a decade. Access for humanitarian agencies so they can increase their assistance to these vulnerable communities is critical. With improved food security and other opportunities, families will be able to reintegrate with the rest of Sudan and start to recover and rebuild,” said Eddie Rowe, United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Country Director in Sudan.

WFP delivered 100 metric tons of nutritious biscuits for 25,000 school children in 83 schools on the five missions. This was the first assistance that people in these isolated areas had received from the UN in the last decade due to conflict and access constraints. A lack of food for students is one of the main challenges Page 2 of 3 in maintaining school enrolment in these isolated areas. Providing school meals is among the top priorities for WFP’s response as access continues to open.

“Whilst these missions mark a major development, we need to ensure that humanitarian access to children and communities in need is always granted. No conditions should ever be set on access; humanitarian assistance should be provided at all times and from all places to those that need it. Findings from this mission are bleak. These children have been entirely ‘left behind’. We have to act now to ensure these children have a future. Collectively, efforts must be made to ensure access and sustain and scale up assistance,” said Abdullah Fadil, UNICEF Representative in Sudan.

Expanding humanitarian access to SPLM-N controlled enclaves is crucial to providing urgent assistance to an estimated 800,000 people in these areas, who desperately need relief following years of isolation. Ramping up support will help stabilize communities and pave the path for peacebuilding efforts, while reinforcing the UN’s commitment to assist marginalised populations in Sudan.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) participated in missions over the last six weeks to five isolated areas in SPLM-N El Hilu controlled areas including Zozak and Amora in Blue Nile State and Kau/Nyaro, Rashad/New Tegali, and Western Jebels in South Kordofan State.

DRC: World Food Programme (WFP) provides food to thousands displaced from Goma after Volcano eruption (02.06.2021)

WFP and partners have so far delivered food to some 43,000 displaced people in Sake, Minova and Rutshuru, towns close to Goma that have seen an influx of people fleeing their homes.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, June 2, 2021 – The United Nations World Food Programme has started providing emergency food rations to people displaced from their homes in Goma by the sudden eruption of Nyiragongo volcano on 22 May.

WFP and partners have so far delivered food to some 43,000 displaced people in Sake, Minova and Rutshuru, towns close to Goma that have seen an influx of people fleeing their homes.  Thousands of displaced people remain scattered across the region amid warnings of further eruptions. Those who have had to flee their homes have been receiving 10-day rations of flour, pulses, oil and salt.

“People are feeling helpless and getting desperate. The families that have fled are completely reliant on government and aid agencies for basics like food, water and shelter,” said Erwan Rumen, WFP’s Eastern Area Coordinator. “WFP is very concerned about the food and nutrition situation of the people forced out of their homes. We are providing them with the food assistance they need in this crisis.”

The eruption left more than 30 dead and caused an estimated 400,000 people to either flee their homes or to be evacuated. Families who left with their few belongings, either headed north on foot on the Rutshuru/Beni road, recently cleared of the lava that had blocked it, or round the lake towards the towns of Sake and Minova, located 27 km and 46 km west of Goma, respectively. Some with vehicles continued further south to Bukavu.

Based on assessments carried out over the past week, WFP aims to reach a total of 40,000 people in Sake, 65,000 in Minova and 60,000 in Rutshuru, while WFP in Rwanda is providing emergency food assistance to many others who have crossed the border.

Jointly with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), WFP is also delivering food to 300 children who have been separated from their families in the chaos that followed the eruption.

North Kivu is already facing armed conflict, mainly in Beni territory where attacks on civilians continue. In efforts to bring stability to this conflict-hit province, the government has declared a security emergency there, and in Ituri, immediately to the north. Shortly after military rule was introduced, Nyiragongo erupted.

Ethiopia: WFP reaches over 1 million people with emergency food assistance in Tigray (01.06.2021)

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has provided emergency food assistance to 1 million people since starting distributions in Northwestern and Southern zones of Tigray region in March.

MEK’ELE, Ethiopia, June 1, 2021 – Aster Beyene, a 43-year-old mother of seven, who lost both her home and crops two months ago to conflict, became the 1 millionth person to collect wheat, split peas and vegetable oil from WFP on Monday.

“Up until now I have relied on what little food I can get from my neighbours. At least now we have some relief from the hunger we have been suffering,” said Aster from Adi Millen, a remote rural village 50 kilometres from Shire in Northwestern zone. WFP provided food to the 4,500 villagers, bringing the first round of food distributions – which will be carried out every six weeks in Tigray – to a close.

“I am glad that WFP was able to bring the food to us here in Adi Millen, where we are far and cut off from many towns and markets,” Aster added.

  • WFP is responsible for emergency food assistance across Northwestern and Southern zones of Tigray and will scale-up operations to reach 2.1 million people in need of food assistance across these operational areas. Since April, it has managed to access all 13 woredas (districts) of Northwestern and assisted 885,000 people. In addition, WFP distributions began at the end of March in three woredas of Southern zone where 168,000 people have so far received WFP emergency food, bringing the total to 1.05 million people. In March, before WFP was assigned Northwestern and Southern zones, WFP had assisted 33,000 people in Eastern zone.
  • This week, WFP kicked off a second six-week round of emergency food assistance, starting in Korem and Ofla, two of five new woredas in Southern zone recently added to WFP’s operational areas. Within the first few days of operations, WFP expects to assist about 80,000 people of the nearly 200,000 target population.
  • In addition, WFP leads the emergency nutrition response across all Tigray with partners and is scaling up to reach people in as many as 70 woredas. Access, especially in rural areas, remains the primary challenge. WFP has delivered 315,000 emergency nutrition rations to children and women since February in 31 woredas. In May, WFP reached almost 100,000 children and pregnant or nursing women in all zones except for Western.
  • As well as supporting the overall response, WFP has delivered 40,000 metric tons of food for the Government and partners to Tigray and has transported 22,000 metric tons for National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC) within the region.
  • A total of 5.2 million people, 91 percent of Tigray’s population, need emergency food assistance due to conflict since last November.
  • Ahead of the results of a new Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) study of levels of hunger across Tigray, WFP is highly concerned at the number of people we see in need of nutrition support and emergency food assistance and is doing all it can to reach 2.1 million people in need in the coming months.
  • However, WFP needs US$203 million to continue to scale up its response in Tigray to save lives and livelihoods through to the end of the year.

ICRC dramatically increases its budget in Ethiopia and Sudan as needs grow at an alarming rate (27.05.2021)

The new appeal will bring ICRC’s total budget for Ethiopia to 65 million Swiss francs.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, May 27, 2021 -The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is asking donors for an additional 28 million Swiss francs ($31.3 million) for its operations in Ethiopia and Sudan following violence that has forced tens of thousands of people from their homes, increasing the need for food, clean water and medical care.

The new appeal will bring ICRC’s total budget for Ethiopia to 65 million Swiss francs ($72.7 million) and the total budget for Sudan to 36 million Swiss francs ($40.3 million). It is the ICRC’s largest such appeal in four years.

“We haven’t seen such an increase in the level of violence in this region for many years,” said Patrick Youssef, the ICRC’s head of operations for Africa. “The world’s attention has been mostly on Tigray, but pockets of violence broke out in other parts of Ethiopia as well, while fighting also resurfaced in Darfur, causing more fear, more displacement and preventing people from meeting their vital needs.

“We are facing an unprecedented challenge, responding to several crises that unfold against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate shocks,”Mr Youssef said.

In Ethiopia’s Tigray region, the presence of humanitarian actors increased in cities, but significant gaps remain in hard-to-reach rural areas. Access to food and primary healthcare are major humanitarian concerns. At the same time, humanitarian needs in other violence-affected areas like Oromia continue to grow.

In Sudan’s Darfur region, the flare-up of violence forced tens of thousands to flee their homes. People can’t grow food and access essential services. Meanwhile, the country is dealing with several displacement and refugee crises. Nearly 2 million Sudanese remain internally displaced, while the country is hosting more than a million refugees, including over 60,000 people who recently fled Ethiopia.

“The emergency response alone will not suffice in the situation we are now facing. The level of violence and destruction is such that we must be prepared to deal with the protracted consequences of these crises,” Mr Youssef added. “Respect for civilian life and property, as well as for healthcare facilities and personnel, is the only way to limit the disastrous humanitarian impact of the ongoing violence.”

The ICRC stepped up its response in Ethiopia and Sudan to cover urgent humanitarian needs, providing emergency relief and preparing for long-term interventions. Additional funding will enable it to expand its programs in Tigray, Oromia and other violence-affected areas of Ethiopia, working alongside the Ethiopian Red Cross. Reaching rural areas of Tigray, reinforcing health services, and increasing support for victims of sexual violence are among the main priorities.

In Sudan, the ICRC will expand its activities and support the Sudanese Red Crescent to respond to the increasing humanitarian needs in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan. It will focus on delivering assistance to people affected by violence, reinforcing primary health care and physical rehabilitation services.

ICRC in Ethiopia:

  • Supporting health centers in Zalambesa and Altitenna and hospitals in Shire and Sheraro;
  • Providing almost 200,000 liters of drinking water daily to more than 22,000 displaced people and host communities in Mekele, Axum and Shire;
  • Distributed seeds, tools and fertilizer to more than 35,000 families in Somali, Oromia and Tigray Regions.

ICRC in Sudan:

  • Expanding operations to Kassala state and supporting the Kassala teaching hospital’s emergency room;
  • Helping Ethiopian refugees reestablish contact with families and supporting health centers for around 60,000 Ethiopian refugees in 8 camps;
  • Distributed essential household items to around 90,000 people affected by violence in Darfur.

Rwanda: Joint News Release – WFP and UNHCR Roll Out Targeted Food Assistance to meet Needs of the Most Vulnerable Refugees in Rwanda (11.05.2021)

Ethiopia: UN releases US$65 million for humanitarian response in Ethiopia’s Tigray crisis worsens (06.05.2021)

Sahel Crisis: 29 million Sahelians need humanitarian assistance and protection (27.04.2021)

Somalia: Humanitarian leadership declares drought (25.04.2021)

Somalia: Humanitarian leadership calls for urgent action to mitigate impact of worsening drought in Somalia (11.04.2021)

South Sudan: Funding gap forces World Food Programme to cut food rations in South Sudan (08.04.2021)