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Humanitarian Access in Darfur Drops

UN Humanitarian Access in Darfur Drops to Lowest Rate in 21 Months

New York, Dec 1 2005 3:00PM

As the number of people needing humanitarian assistance in western Sudan's strife-torn Darfur region rose to almost 3.5 million people, the United Nation peacekeeping mission's access dropped to less than three-quarters of those in need, the lowest rate since April of last year, according to the latest figures available.

"During the month UN accessibility in Darfur dropped to 70 per cent overall, the lowest rate since April 2004. Especially in West Darfur, with all roads out of Geneina being declared UN no-go, accessibility dropped to an unacceptable level of 45 per cent," the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said of the newly released Darfur humanitarian profile for September.

Although nearly 14,000 aid workers are now employed by 13 UN agencies and 82 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), "a primary concern is the continued state of insecurity and the resulting risk that the humanitarian operations will have to continue for a prolonged period of time," it said.

If the situation continues, the 1.8 million internally displaced people (IDPs) cannot be expected to return home in any significant numbers and large numbers of people will continue to need assistance, UNMIS said.

Despite the daily banditry targeting vehicles, in September the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and its partner NGOs delivered a record 46,500 tons of food to almost 2.7 million needy people and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) provided primary health care to 2 million people, it said.

In southern Sudan where the 21-year civil war, the longest-running in Africa, ended at the beginning of this year, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) launched a programme today of taking Sudanese delegations from among the 73,000 refugees in Kakuma camp in northwestern Kenya to visit their home regions and report back.

Some 12,000 Dinka people and their hundreds of thousands of cattle have started the move back to their southern Bor homeland from Western Equatoria, where tensions had been rising between them and the local Moru people, UNMIS said.

Several UN agencies have been collaborating in assisting the trek, with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) having recently issued a press release saying the movement of so much livestock was likely to worsen tensions between different pastoralist groups.

To guard against the spread of diseases, meanwhile, FAO has provided thousands of doses of vaccines against Haemorrhagic Septicaemia, Black Quarter and anthrax.


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