News / Africa

Humanitarian Organizations in Sudan Prepare for Referendum Aftermath

South Sudan returnees arrive at the main port of Juba after 17 days on a boat from Khartoum, ahead of the Jan 9, 2011 referendum on the independence of the South, Dec 17, 2010.
South Sudan returnees arrive at the main port of Juba after 17 days on a boat from Khartoum, ahead of the Jan 9, 2011 referendum on the independence of the South, Dec 17, 2010.

Multimedia

Audio
Matt Richmond

With the referendum on southern independence just 19 days away, humanitarian organizations in Sudan are preparing for the possible results by moving three months of emergency supplies into areas where they think conflict could occur.

The World Food Program's warehouse in Southern Sudan's capital, Juba, is a busy place. A truck loaded with 28 metric tons of sorghum has arrived from the Kenyan port of Mombasa. Workers move the bags into another truck headed to the neighboring Western Equatoria state.

Warehouse supervisor Victor Achawa said the trucks keep coming all day. "Every day, you can receive more than 20, 24 trucks ..."

The food coming into Juba and headed throughout the south is part of humanitarian preparation for the referendum on southern independence.

On January 9, 2011, southerners will vote on whether to become an independent nation or remain united with the north. The vote is the centerpiece of a 2005 peace deal between north and south that ended Sudan's 21-year civil war.

A deep mistrust remains between north and south. Southerners are expected to vote overwhelmingly in favor of separation. But there is widespread concern the north will not allow a peaceful separation. So humanitarian organizations in the south are preparing for the worst.

"We are convinced that the referendum process is going to play out in a fully successful way," said
Lise Grande, the U.N. deputy resident and humanitarian coordinator in Southern Sudan. "But as humanitarian agencies, we are obliged to prepare for a worst-case."

Agencies in Sudan requested $35 million in funding from international donors. That does not include food aid, the most expensive single part of the request. If not for an early donation to cover food, the request would be more than $100 million.

Three months of emergency supplies are being distributed to warehouses in the south right now. There is food aid, medical supplies, water and sanitation supplies, seeds and tools so people can produce their own food. There also are nutrition supplies and non-food items, like buckets and blankets.

"All six [warehouses] of them are prepositioned in locations all throughout the south, but particularly what we call flashpoint areas, areas that might experience trouble," said Grande.

According to Grande, agencies have looked to the south's recent past to predict where aid could be needed most. "It would be along the border areas, there are also areas where the LRA have been effective in the past that we are concerned about, there are areas where there have been internal troubles in the south that we are keeping an eye on."

Humanitarian agencies have a long history of working in Southern Sudan. During the war, the United Nations ran a program called Operation Lifeline Sudan. Starting in 1991, U.N. organizations like the World Food Program and UNICEF organized aid deliveries into areas controlled by the southern rebel army.

According to the WFP head of office in the south, Leo van der Verlden, the agency was forced to fly in most of the food during the war and have made road improvement a priority since the war ended.

"In the last five years, we have rehabilitated 2,600 kilometers of roads in south Sudan which was partly because before we had to fly everything in," said van der Verlden.  "Nowadays it is more or less on truck or we use also barges over the Nile from Kosti."

In addition to roads, the United Nations is repairing airstrips and building warehouses and fuel depots. While it is cheaper to transport food from the north, the World Food Program is also able to bring it in from Kenya, in case northern routes to the south are closed.

According to van der Velden, one of the biggest challenges that remains is convincing the southern army that humanitarian aid should reach anyone who needs it, no matter the political circumstances.

"They have no idea about privileges and immunities for humanitarian workers, which means we can be arrested or hampered or sometimes trucks are commandeered just because there's a lack of understanding," said van der Verlden.

Van der Velden added that there have been major improvements in the past two months in the treatment of humanitarian workers in the south.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid