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Cablegate: Usaid Acting Administrator's Meeting with Humanitarian

VZCZCXRO6037
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1229/01 3061022
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 021022Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4671
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001229

NSC FOR MGAVIN, LETIM
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
UN ROME FOR HSPANOS
NEW YORK FOR DMERCADO

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI SMIG UN SU
SUBJECT: USAID Acting Administrator's Meeting with Humanitarian
Agencies in Nyala, South Darfur

REF: KHARTOUM 1215

1. (SBU) Summary: On October 25, USAID Acting Administrator Alonzo
Fulgham, Acting Assistant Administrator for USAID's Bureau for
Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (USAID/DCHA) Susan
Reichle, and USAID Senior Policy Advisor Steven Pierce met with the
South Darfur Area Humanitarian Country Team (ACHT) in Nyala, South
Darfur, as part of an October 24 to 27 visit to Sudan. The
delegation was accompanied by USAID Mission Director William Hammink
and USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA)
Acting Country Representative Kate Farnsworth. The ACHT raised
significant concerns regarding insecurity and disposition of
expelled non-governmental organizations' (NGO) assets, both of which
significantly affect program implementation. End summary.

-----------------
SOUTH DARFUR AHCT
-----------------

2. During a day visit to Nyala, South Darfur, Acting Administrator
Alonzo Fulgham and delegation met with the South Darfur AHCT. The
latter is a field-level organization mirroring the the Khartoum UN
Country Team and comprised of representatives from UN agencies and
NGOs. The AHCT, on behalf of the wider assistance community, meets
regularly to deal with issues affecting South Darfur humanitarian
operations. In an unstructured question and answer format that
served as an excellent wrap-up session for the Acting Administrator
on humanitarian issues in northern Sudan, NGO and UN representatives
conveyed their concerns regarding issues of security, access,
returns, and funding.

---------------------------------------
INSECURITY PERSISTS, LIMITS RURAL REACH
---------------------------------------

3. (SBU) The UN Acting Security Coordinator, currently the UN World
Food Program (WFP) Officer-in-Charge, opened the meeting by
describing the highly insecure operating environment for
humanitarian workers. According to the security coordinator,
kidnapping threats, actual kidnappings, and carjackings all serve to
intimidate the humanitarian community and result in relief workers
limiting movements outside the main capitals in Darfur.

4. (SBU) According to the UN, the number of carjackings remains
disturbing - three in the recent week, WFP stated, but the number is
less than before March 2009. However, reporting on raw numbers is
misleading, observed one veteran NGO director, for two primary
reasons. First, in March 2009, the Government of Sudan (GOS)
confiscated hundreds of 4-wheel drive vehicles belonging to NGOs,
reducing the number of "lootable" vehicles in circulation. Second,
remaining NGOs further reduced the number of 4-wheel drive vehicles
in circulation by parking them and using small cars and minibuses,
which are less attractive to carjackers.

5. (SBU) With road travel virtually at a standstill due to the lack
of operational vehicles, NGOs are relying on UN Humanitarian Air
Service (UNHAS) helicopter flights to reach deep field locations for
short visits. The inability of NGOs to sustain a presence in deep
field locations has a direct impact on the organizations' ability to
do the assessments required to design rural programs. This lack of
a sustained presence also limits an understanding of the returns
process, including associated water rights, land ownership, and
access.

----------------------
"RETURNS" VERIFICATION
----------------------

6. (SBU) The International Organization for Migration (IOM)
representative noted that after seven months of being denied travel
to South Darfur, the State authorities had finally accepted IOM's
presence in South Darfur. IOM reported that cooperation with the
South Darfur Humanitarian Aid Commission is excellent, and IOM has
already been requested to verify up to 95 sites where returnees are
present. However, in a visit to one of the GOS-identified "returns"
sites, the IOM team discovered a village that had been untouched by
the conflict, with no IDPs either coming or going from the village.
IOM remains optimistic about their current role and is moving
forward to assess other sites.

-------------------------
ASSETS REMAIN CONFISCATED

KHARTOUM 00001229 002 OF 002


-------------------------

7. (SBU) NGOs highlighted a number of other issues during the
meeting. New affiliate NGO Care International Switzerland (CIS)
(protect) reported that the organization has received only basic
assets of the expelled NGO CARE/US contrary to the promise made by
the GOS in agreements reached with U.S. Special Envoy (SE) to Sudan
General Scott Gration. (Note: In other meetings, USAID learned that
returned basic assets include kitchen equipment, beds, and
mattresses from the Kass guest house. End note.) The delay in asset
return is limiting CIS's ability to begin operations in South
Darfur, operations that have been requested by local authorities and
funded by USAID/OFDA.

8. (SBU) Other issues raised included a request that the U.S.
continue to support UNHAS's Darfur flight operations as a critical
life-line for NGOs to access some deep field locations; a note that
year-to-year funding makes longer-term planning, particularly with
technical ministries, very difficult; and a call by the UN
Children's Fund (UNICEF) for USAID to urge its partners to
participate actively in cluster coordination activities (Note:
Darfur is the Sudan pilot for the roll out of the UN cluster lead
formula, an approach that USAID supports, in general, with
reservations regarding added costs associated with the staffing of
cluster offices. End note.)

9. (U) The USAID delegation cleared this cable prior to their
departure.

WHITEHEAD

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