November 1, 2006

Kassala - Hameshkoreib road cleared of mines

A United Nations Mine Action Office was established in Kassala in April 2005. It coordinates mine action activities with in the 3 Eastern States (Al Gadaref, Kassala and Red Sea). The work in Kassala had been funded and supported by UNMIS till September 2006, but is now being funded through the VTF (Voluntary Trust Fund) a humanitarian fund managed by UNOPS/UNMAS New York. The Kassala office employs one ten man Manual Clearance team and two survey teams. A bulletin published by the United Nations Joint Logistics Center stated that:

"United Nations Mine Action Office clearance of the road from Kassala to Hameskoreib is now complete and the road is open. This is the only confirmed clear access to Hameshkoreib from Kassala."

September 1, 2006

Red Sea University to provide community education

In an interview conducted by Sudan Vision, Director of the Red Sea University [RSU] Dr. Mohamed Al Amin Hamza shared some ideas about the future of the school. Based in Port Sudan, and building on the foundation of Institute of Marine Sciences, established in 1971, the RSU now has six scientific faculties. Dr. Hamza noted that that professors are now coming out of RSU.

"The second generation of lecturers in some specialization were qualified by those lecturers who studied abroad. They will also assist in promoting and developing their performance in those specializations. As the Faculty [of Marine sciences] is quite a significant one, the Ministry of Higher Education paid attention to it. We started programmes of cooperation with some universities which are experienced in Marine Sciences, such as the University of Bergen in Norway."

When asked about offering assistance to the citizens of Red Sea State, Dr Hamza said, "The University, in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Welfare in Red Sea State, will establish a number of social development centres in the various localities. This aims at developing women in rural areas to promote them in cultural, health, nutritional and professional fields, so that they can improve the family income to meet its needs. It is quite well known that eastern Sudan has a very high poverty rate. It is expected that all localities will have these centres. We started by establishing the Social Development Centre in Gabait. Port Sudan will have four centres."

The Red Sea University offers Bachelor level degrees in Education, Economy, Marine Sciences, and Earth Sciences. Masters and PhD degrees are in development. The RSU added a Faculty of Arts in 2006. Languages, History, Geography and Information are being added for the 2007-2008 academic year.

The Red Sea University has no website [June 2007].

August 1, 2006

Eritrean authorities arrest people at home prayer meetings

In the capital city Asmara, and in regional towns Keren and Massawa, Eritrean authorities arrested and detained at least 29 people, most of them Christians. They had been in home prayer groups.

ReleaseEritrea, a watch group based in the United Kingdom, writes articles detailing the persecution of Christians in Eritrea, and lobbies the Eritrean government, asking it to uphold their constitutional provisions to protect the freedom of religion.


July 1, 2006

Nile River dam being built by Chinese for producing electricity

Construction began in 2006 on a 9 km wide earthen/rock dam at the Fourth Cataract on the Nile River. A lake 160 km long will be created. The dam will be 67 meters high [approx. 210 feet] and cost about 1200 million EURs, or 1.5 billion dollars. With 10 hydro generators, the available electricity in Sudan will nearly double. Flooding begins in August 2008, and will take about two years to fill. Irrigation for farms will be available downstream. River navigation will be improved.

The Beja connection is that plans exist to build a 1,000 km long transmission line across the Red Sea Hills to improve electrical service in Port Sudan.

A noteable side effect of the construction is the displacement of about 50,000 people, many who work on date and vegetable farms, and who are of the same tribal ethnicity. New land being offered doesn't have the rich soil the date palms like, short term assistance programmes the government wants to give appear inadequate to fully reestablish the farmers, and local towns that purchase the dates and vegetables will be flooded.

The new lake will flood hundreds of archeological sites. Efforts have been ongoing for years, but resources are inadequate to rescue many artifacts, or remove and rebuild the many historic buildings and pyramids.

China has an interest in many countries in Africa, with a view of developing friendly relations in order to secure resources for her own economic well-being.


March 29, 2006

Partial solar eclipse brings darkness to North Africa

On March 29, 2006, a solar eclipse was visible from Northern Africa, as
the moon passes in orbit between the earth and the sun. As the earth
rotates, the best place to see the eclipse will be in Libya. The total
eclipse will be visible for over 4 minutes, and the darkness will cover
the earth over the 180 km wide path. While the moon blocks the sun, it's
possible to view the night sky during the day! A partial eclipse was
visible across Sudan in the afternoon.

Future partial solar eclipses visible from east Sudan take place on

November 3, 2013

September 1, 2016

June 21, 2020.

March 1, 2006

International aid agency steps out of east Sudan

Bowing to pressure from the central Khartoum government, the
International Rescue Committee [IRC] has suspended their work, which
includes provision of food and medicine to 45,000 people living in
camps. These camps are within the rebel controlled territory near the
Eritrean border.

News came from IRC which sent a letter to the Eastern Front describing
the government's request, who called a news briefing with journalists.
Eastern Front rebels said, "This sudden move creates a humanitarian
disaster for the 45,000 people directly benefiting from the health,
education, veterinary, water and local-capacity building programmes of
IRC." The one other agency at work in the area is Samaritan's Purse, and
they continue their operations.

January 1, 2006

23 Beja demonstrators killed by authorities

In the Annual Report for 2005, the Sudanese Organization Against Torture identified many situations in Sudan where citizens were unreasonably threatened. They state that in East Sudan, "The severe clampdown on people from the Beja tribe, which began in January 2005, when police forces in Port Sudan opened live ammunition on a demonstrating Beja crowd killing approximately 23 people including children and a pregnant woman, continued apace throughout the year."
a pdf file converted to a html page - info on page 41.