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

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid