Sudan causes frustration among NGOs

2012-06-13 15:02
AFP

AFP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • Reef Fishes and Corals
    This colourful guide contains concise information on 234 reef fish and 36 coral species found along... Now R175.00
    buy now

Khartoum - Sudan has caused frustration among donor countries by ordering seven foreign aid agencies out of its impoverished eastern region, in what some fear is a sign of mounting hostility to outside assistance.

The government's Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), which conducted a rapid assessment of the operations of 14 international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) in the east, took the decision to expel seven of them late last month, arguing that some projects were badly managed, of poor quality and too costly.

The Sudan INGO Forum that represents them responded by saying that the organisations affected, which provide essential humanitarian aid such as healthcare for women and children, demining, water, sanitation and nutrition projects, served more than 600 000 people.

The region, which covers Kassala, Gedaref and Red Sea states, and where a fragile peace deal has held since 2006 after more than a decade of civil war, has "significantly worse" malnutrition levels than other parts of Sudan, one UN source said.

It also has the country's highest mortality rate for children under five.

"The consequence of the decision for the people of East Sudan, many of whom will be left without access to basic services, is therefore potentially grave," the INGO Forum said.

It is by no means an isolated decision.

Just the week before, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it had been forced to suspend lifesaving medical activities in a part of North Darfur due to restrictions imposed on its work there, leaving more than 100 000 people without vital healthcare.

Deep frustration

MSF said the government "did not give us any clear reason" why medical shipments were prevented from reaching its project.

The NGOs ordered to suspend their operations in the east refused to comment, when contacted by AFP, some saying that to do so could jeopardise their activities elsewhere in Sudan.

But privately, humanitarian workers and Western diplomats express deep frustration, and worry that the government is acting with ever-more suspicion of, if not outright hostility towards foreign aid agencies in a country that can ill-afford to lose them.

"We are finding it more difficult to access the people who are most in need, wherever they may be located," said another UN source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The latest decision appears to have been taken at a very high level in Khartoum, given the broad discrepancy between the HAC's findings and independent accounts of the NGOs' operations.

"It's my belief that these organisations have done nothing wrong... The evidence is that on the local level they were really liked," one diplomat told AFP.

"We are all afraid that this is the beginning of the cancellation of [humanitarian] projects in other parts of the country, such as Darfur. It's a negative trend," the diplomat added.

Khartoum has a history of expelling foreign aid agencies from sensitive areas, most notoriously when it revoked the licences of 13 INGOs working in Darfur in 2009 shortly after the International Criminal Court charged President Omar al-Bashir with war crimes.

INGOs and UN agencies were also ordered out of South Kordofan and Blue Nile when conflicts erupted between government forces and ethnic rebels last year.

Embattled border states

They are still barred from accessing the embattled border states, despite reports of widespread food shortages and an estimated 500 000 people displaced from their homes or severely affected by the fighting.

The government frequently voices its determination to "Sudanise" the country's humanitarian operations, but diplomats from donor countries doubt whether the skills and expertise exist to deliver.

Some $3.5bn were pledged for eastern Sudan at a donors conference in Kuwait in 2010 that was supposed to build on the 2006 peace deal.

But poverty remains endemic among the region's five million inhabitants and one diplomat told AFP that the aid agency expulsions threatened to result in a "permanent loss of capacity" to deliver on humanitarian assistance.

Even diplomats are increasingly experiencing problems with their travel permits to the east, amid reports of growing discontent over the absence of any peace dividend for the ethnically divided region.

Hannah Reed, an aid worker with GOAL, described the severe living conditions in parts of Kassala state where the now-expelled Irish NGO worked, in a blog posted on the organisation's website last month.

"As I travel from Kassala town in eastern Sudan, to the rural areas in which GOAL works, there is nothing that would suggest it’s possible for people - entire villages, in fact - to survive," she wrote.

Read more on:    sudan  |  aid  |  east africa

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

The rich will pay - Mpofu

The EFF in Gauteng will focus all its energy on improving the lives of the poor, the party's premier candidate Dali Mpofu says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Century City - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Ratanga Road Southbound
    ROADWORKS - lane closure between Ocean Spirit Avenue and Century Boulevard (until mid April)
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Spine Road
    ROAD CLOSED between Weltevreden Drive and Seafarer Drive due to roadworks (until mid April)
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

DSTV Mobile iDrifta

The iDrifta is a plug and play mobile DVB-H receiver...

From R445.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Treat yourself to something beautiful. You tend to put so much energy in making everything around you work harmoniously, and...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.