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Cablegate: Sudan - the Blues of Blue Nile State

VZCZCXRO8188
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1028/01 1791048
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 281048Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7750
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001028

SIPDIS

AIDAC
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/SPG, PRM, AND ALSO PASS USAID/W
USAID FOR DCHA SUDAN TEAM, AFR/SP
NAIROBI FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA, USAID/REDSO, AND FAS
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
NAIROBI FOR SFO
NSC FOR PMARCHAM, MMAGAN, AND TSHORTLEY
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
USUN FOR TMALY
BRUSSELS FOR PLERNER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI UN SU
SUBJECT: SUDAN - THE BLUES OF BLUE NILE STATE


KHARTOUM 00001028 001.2 OF 002


-------
SUMMARY
-------

(U) Blue Nile State has a strong potential for agricultural
production, yet chronic underdevelopment and lasting damage from
civil war hamper progress. USAID food aid assistance benefits
returnees and communities in this Three Areas state, yet needs
persist for basic services, including health, water and sanitation,
education, and livelihoods. End summary.

-----------------
BLUE NILE IN NEED
-----------------

1. (U) Blue Nile State, which lies in the fertile woodland savannah
belt of eastern Sudan, has a strong potential for agricultural
production. However, several challenges exist for this special
administrative area as defined in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
War destroyed most basic infrastructure, particularly in the
southern portion of the state, and poor roads render many rural
areas inaccessible during the rainy season. In addition, access to
drinking water is far below minimum Sphere standards at five liters
per person per day in Kurmuk locality, where many returning refugees
and internally displaced persons (IDPs) are settling. Poor
sanitation conditions contribute to the further spread of illnesses
such as diarrhea and trachoma.

-------------------
FOOD FOR EVERYTHING
-------------------

2. (U) USAID funds the UN World Food Program (WFP) to carry out a
host of emergency food aid programs throughout Blue Nile State. In
2007, WFP is engaged in General Food Distributions (GFD), Food for
Education (FFE), Food for Training (FFT), Food for Recovery (FFR)
and Institutional Feeding (IF) programs.

3. (U) General food distributions target organized and spontaneous
refugee and IDP returnees in 2007, as well as 2006 returnees.
Current year returnees receive full rations while prior year
returnees receive half rations. WFP is currently targeting 3,268
returnees in Damazine locality and 19,575 in Kurmuk locality.

4. (U) In order to support reintegration in resettlement areas, WFP
provides Food for Education to promote improved quality and access
to education, particularly for girls. In northern Blue Nile, WFP
FFE programs target 47 schools benefiting 15,733 students. An
additional 16 schools and 6,745 students receive hot meals through
the WFP program in southern Blue Nile. Local communities engage
through parent associations, which provide firewood, cooks, and
additional food items where needed. While participating schools in
southern Blue Nile expanded from nine to 16 over the past year,
inaccessibility due to UN security restrictions reduced the number
of participating schools in the northern portion of the state from
83 to 47.

5. (U) Food for Training programs in southern Blue Nile provide take
home rations for 480 women and 120 men participating in literacy
classes. The program aims to enhance women's reading and writing
skills, knowledge, and confidence, and encourage participation in
the local community decision making process. Providing food at the
literacy courses encourages women to attend regularly.

6. (U) A Food for Recovery project is planned to improve the food
security and livelihoods of 1,084 men and 1,000 women in Challi,
Kurmuk locality. Beneficiaries will receive individual rations for
60 days while carrying out community-initiated resettlement
activities.

7. (U) An Institutional Feeding program scheduled for 620
individuals per month in Roseries and Damazine localities and Kurmuk
hospital aims to reduce child mortality, improve child health, and
combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases.

8. (U) In order to address the pressing need for increased access to
water in Blue Nile, WFP is exploring the use of Food for Work
interventions to build water catchments. As heavy soil in the state
requires machinery for digging, WFP is seeking an NGO to provide
equipment as a complement to additional FFW activities.


KHARTOUM 00001028 002.2 OF 002


9. (U) WFP has successfully pre-positioned food at local
distribution points to minimize delays in food delivery during the
rainy season. In addition, WFP has trained relief committees at each
site to carry out the food distribution in the event that rains
prevent the presence of WFP staff. USAID field staff recommends
monitoring the performance of the relief committees to evaluate the
effectiveness of this approach.

--------------------
NEEDS AND CHALLENGES
--------------------

10. (U) Needs in Blue Nile are great, particularly for water and
sanitation, health, education, and livelihoods support. Schools
often lack text books, trained teachers, and clean water. In some
locations, school meals are prepared using untreated river water,
and students drink directly from the river, both of which pose
significant health hazards. Resettlement sites lack holistic
programming, with most returnees receiving food without other basic
services that would support resettlement and reintegration. This
lack of basic services may encourage some returnees for a reverse
return.

11. (U) Several hurdles to expanded services exist, including the
threat of landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXOs), and UN security
restrictions marking several locations "no-go". Low local government
capacity and the limited presence of relief organizations also
present obstacles to needed relief to development programming.

---------------
RECOMMENDATIONS
---------------

12. (U) An in-depth assessment should be carried out in Blue Nile
State to identify specific needs and explore possible support for
basic services to areas of resettlement. In addition, the provision
of agricultural inputs to returnees would help them to transition
from reliance on food rations to self-sustenance.

13. (U) Related to WFP operations, an additional storage facility is
needed in Kurmuk. Food currently stored in a non-WFP facility is at
risk of contamination from petrol and rodents. Parent associations
responsible for managing food storage sites at schools require
training on storage and handling of commodities. Also, a follow-up
evaluation on food distributions conducted by local relief
committees in the absence of WFP staff during the rainy season is
recommended to determine the effectiveness of this approach.

FERNANDEZ

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