February 19, 2010

Kassala State is the poorest in Sudan, says UN

18 February 2010 - (Kassala) - The United Nations Refugee Agency, the UNHCR, says Kassala state is one the poorest states in Sudan because it has been neglected by both the government and the international community.
In an interview with SRS in Kassala town on Wednesday, the Head of UNHCR’s Kassala office, Dr. Mohamed Dualeh explains why he thinks Kassala is the poorest state in Sudan.
[Dr. Mohamed Dualeh]: “Kassala state is one of the poorest in Sudan. It is poorer than some parts of Darfur and a lot of the south. But, if you look at all the indicators, it is a neglected part of the country. Neglected by the international community, neglected by the UN, neglected by UN agencies, there was little aid coming in as a peace dividend after the signing of the Eastern Peace Agreement. Therefore, I think there is no justification now not to provide the assistance the east needs. We are waiting to see it happen. Not just words, but action. Action from the UN, action from the donors, and action from the government.”
Dr. Dualeh describes the indicators that he says suggest that Kassala the poorest state in Sudan.
[Dr. Mohamed Dualeh]: “Maternal mortality is very high, child mortality is very high and illiteracy is also very high. I think 57% of people who live in Kassala state do not read and write. Unemployment is very high but at the same time, this is a border state. In the last few years the rains were very erratic, there were less rains. Therefore, there is a drought looming. If there is a failure in terms of agricultural production as well as unemployment, with all other indicators, I think we may run into emergencies in the long term unless we can prevent it now.”
Comparing life in Kassala state with life in the refugee camps, Dr. Dualeh claims that refugees in camps in Eastern Sudan receive better services than the host communities.
[Dr. Mohamed Dualeh]: “Refugees receive better services than the neighboring Sudanese villages. They receive better water systems, they receive better education, they receive better health care than the neighboring villages and I think if we want to do justice, we should be doing justice for those Sudanese living in the surrounding villages. I wish you had gone to Umgargora Refugee camp and the next village, Karkora they are identical villages. Umugargora receives everything, the other one does not receive anything. Therefore, if you want to do justice, I think we should be doing justice for the local population in the area.”
Dr. Mohamed Dualeh was talking to SRS in Kassala.
Sourced from http://www.sudanradio.org/kassala-state-poorest-sudan-unhcr

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