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

New England Bears Brunt of US Blizzard

Boston, surrounding region grapple with as much as 3 feet of snow, coastal flooding; leaders in New York, spared most severe weather, criticized for being overly cautious More

China Lifts Lid on Sale of Fake Goods Online

A recent survey found nearly 60 percent of a random sample of items bought from Taobao were fake More

Upward Aims to Create Old-girls Network in Silicon Valley

Lisa Lambert, an executive with Intel Corp.'s venture-capital unit, responds to the gender-disparity debate by creating a new social organization 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid