Friday, September 23, 2005

Sudan: UN WFP Weekly Situation Report on Darfur 14 - 20 Sep 2005

Imagine the complex logistics involved in delivering food to those most in need in the Sudan. 90% of the 10,000 aid workers currently employed by international aid agencies are local Sudanese people.

Thousands of unemployed Sudanese men refuse to get aid through official channels. They ambush relief trucks and use violence to steal food and aid for themselves. Such looting stretches to trucks, petrol, plastic sheeting, mobile phones, cash and other personal belongings stolen during attacks on aid workers.

Here below is an excerpt from the UN's World Food Program weekly Situation Report on Darfur 14 - 20 Sep 2005. Click into the full pdf report and read between the lines.

[Note the pdf report states WFP and "Cooperating Partner SC-US" are looking into possibilities of flying in distribution teams to inaccessible locations in West Darfur. Also, it mentions what sounds like new teams in Darfur, ie: "UNDSS security assessment mission" ... "UNDSS/WFP security mission" ... "a joint team of security officers from WFP, UNDSS and UNMIS" ... "Cooperating Partner GAA"]


The security situation, and subsequent restrictions on UN movement, continue to affect humanitarian operations including WFP's food distributions and assessments in Darfur. Despite increased precautionary measures such as GoS police patrols and AU escorts, armed men continued to attack commercial and humanitarian vehicles in the region.

South Darfur

Two separate incidents of armed attacks on trucks were reported in Amar Jandid, approximately 10 km north of Menawashi, during the reporting week. Both incidents involved a large group of armed men who ambushed and looted commercial trucks traveling in the area. Some 87 bags of sorghum were stolen among personal belongings and money of the occupants.

There were several reports of both GoS and SLA buildup as well as clashes in locations around South Darfur. In Mershing, a UNDSS/WFP security mission recommended that food distribution activities be suspended for a few days while precautionary security measures are put in place. Meanwhile, there were also reports of SLA's established presence in Joghana, approximately 110 km south of Nyala. The UNDSS has advised agencies working in Joghana to ensure that the SLA is notified in advance of any movement in the area. The situation will be closely monitored by the UNDSS as fears of clashes with GoS present in Buram, some 30 km south of Joghana, are raising security concerns. In Jebel Marra, clashes between GoS and SLA were reported in Guldo during the week.

North Darfur

It was reported that the SLA attacked a GoS checkpoint in Abu Hamra village as well as several other villages close to Shangil Tobaya during the week (namely Um Lawat, Karja, Tebeldiya Wari and Arara). While the African Union (AU) is further investigating the situation, many residents allegedly fled Arara village from fear of GoS retaliation. A joint team of security officers from WFP, UNDSS and UNMIS traveled to Shangil Tobaya and Tabitt, where they met with AU, SLA and the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) to discuss the situation. While the situation was reported to have stabilized, residents of the villages have re-located to IDP camps near Shangil Tobaya. The UNDSS is expected to submit a full report in the coming week.

Following the shooting incident that occurred in Tawila on 9 September 2005, a UNDSS security assessment mission re-visited the location and has declared the situation to be relatively stable. UN movement restrictions in Tawila were lifted but UN agencies have been advised to conduct all activities between 0900 and 1600 hours. All field missions were advised to contact the UNDSS prior to departure and to exercise extra caution at all times.

Cooperating Partner GAA suspended activities in Um Maharek village in Kutum locality following an outbreak of violence in which 15 people were killed.

West Darfur

On 15 September, two commercial trucks, being escorted by GoS police, were attacked and ambushed by armed men approximately 25 min south of Masteri. Four civilians and two GoS soldiers were reported to have been killed in this incident. An unescorted NGO vehicle was also stopped and looted near Habilah Kanari during the week. Armed men also shot at two vehicles belonging to UNHCR in the same area. It should be noted that the UN can only move on these roads (Geneina/Habilah/Mornie/Masteri roads, Sisi/Mornie road and areas around Jebel Moon) with a security escort.


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