December 27, 2007

News - Eastern groups join SPLM

From the December 27 pdf media report published by the United Nations:
Three movements from eastern Sudan join SPLM (AlSahafa)
It has been agreed in principle that three eastern Sudan movements (Beja Congress for Reform and Development, the Eastern Front breakaway groups and the demobilized military personnel of the Beja Congress) will merge with the SPLM.

This agreement was reached after talks which continued for three weeks in Juba between the SPLM and representatives of the three movements.

The President of the Beja Congress for Reform and Development, Osman Musa Bawnin, told Miraya FM that they will establish the Beja Congress in the SPLM.

The United Nations monitors the media in Sudan, and compiles a daily pdf report, available here:

August 30, 2007

Extraordinary rainfall causes flooding, disease

Heavy rain through the summer has caused repeated floods in Khartoum, filling the streets with water. Above average rainfall across the country has caused floods across the nation. Aid relief has been difficult to deliver in some areas, and the Sudanese Red Crescent reported that donations for relief totalled only 30% or the $4.5 million they needed. They have helped 49,000 people, providing chlorine tablets, soap, and mosquito nets. Working with Red Cross officials they raised their goal of helping 40,000 people to 140,000 for the next six months.

Aid experts said that cases of malaria are on the rise in flooded areas. The World Health Organisation reported mid August that the floods had triggered an outbreak of cholera in eastern Sudan, with 763 cases reported and 53 people dead. A Sudanese health official denied the existence of the disease.

Toward the end of the month the European Union offered 2 million Euros, and the United Nations launched an appeal for $20 million, in addition to $13.5 million that was already given through the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund. Over 200,000 people have become homeless in Sudan due to the flooding. The rainy season continues until October.

UPDATE from another source
Further details resulting from the heavy rains in Sudan.
200,000 homeless. 40,000 families homeless in northern Sudan. 365,000
people affected by flooding across 16 of Sudan's 26 states. 73,839
houses have been damaged or destroyed. 50,000 hectares crops ruined.
"worst flooding to have hit the country since 1988"
4,680 homes in Khartoum destroyed.
Many houses destroyed in Sennar.
Hundreds of families stranded in Kassala area from flooding of River Gash
Khartoum state - 13,000 families affected by flooding.
North Kordofan State - Wad al-Buga dam at Khor-Bagara collapses.
Southern Sudan - 6 dead. 10,000 families displaced. Thousands of cattle
dead in Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei states.
August 9 - Blue Nile at Khartoum more than a meter higher than 1988 levels
August 25 - 30,000 homes destroyed and 150,000 homeless in eastern Sudan
September 4 - 20,000 houses destroyed in Kosti city.

August 1, 2007

Flooding in Kassala leaves hundreds homeless

Heavy rains and flooding have killed at least 30 people and destroyed over 15,000 homes in central and eastern Sudan. Rain has been steady for weeks, but the strong rains, which began Sunday evening and continued Wednesday July 11, destroyed at least 4,680 homes in Khartoum alone. The Nile River is expected to peak in Khartoum at higher levels than in previous record years (1946, 1988).

In Kassala State, the Gash River, which has tributaries in the Ethiopian and Eritrean highlands, has risen to such a level that hundreds of families have been stranded.

"As an immediate first step to help, the UN World Food Program plans to distribute food to 20,000 people in five locations near the city of Kassala, close to the Eritrean border, where the Gash River has burst its banks," a WFP statement said.

"WFP has 3,000 metric tonnes of food stockpiled in Kassala, enough to feed the flood victims for three weeks," it added.

United Nations agencies and NGOs like the Red Crescent Society are distributing plastic sheeting, blankets, cooking sets and mosquito nets.

Oxfam has been helping improve the drainage system in Tokar, which was affected by floods in 2006. About 90 km [55 miles] southeast of Suakin, and 30 km [18 miles] from the coast at Trinkitat, Tokar sits in a fertile valley plain that is surrounded by hills, so wells are full and crops are plentiful in normal conditions.

In other parts of Africa, heavy rains have caused dormant larvae to hatch and swarms of locusts have infested farmland the Horn of Africa region.

Weather forecasts predict continued heavy rain.

July 11, 2007

Bashair II Port opened by President Al-Bashir for oil exports

On Wednesday, July 11, 2007, Sudanese politicians delivered speeches on the occasion of the opening of Bashair II Port. The port is at the end of the 1600 km oil pipeline from south Sudan, and provides bulk crude oil for export to India and China. It is about 25 km south of Port Sudan on the coast of the Red Sea.

The president of the country, Omar al-Bashir reviewed developments delivered by the Salvation Government over the past 18 years. He hailed the recent peace agreements signed with various sectarian groups in Sudan such as the Eastern Front. He added that the Salvation Government has come for the sake of the marginalized in all the regions of Sudan, illustrating that it has sought to avail health, medical treatment and other basic services. He further pledged to launch more development projects in the Red Sea State in the fields of water and services to liberate the citizens of the State from poverty and diseases.

The Minister of Energy and Mining, Dr. Awad Ahmed Al-Jaz praised the faithful diligence of the Sudanese youth, and the companies and investors who had executed the port building project.

Governor Mohammed Tahir Eila of the Red Sea State indicated that the claims of the people of eastern Sudan for development and construction have been met.

He hailed the Eastern Sudan Front and stressed that it will receive all cooperation from his government. Governor Eila said that the Red Sea State has a promising future because it was able to build large projects like road and ports, and it could launch oil and gas exploration and gold projects. He ended his speech by restating the pledge to seek the stability and security of the country. He let the people know that the Red Sea State would work hard and make the necessary sacrifices.

July 2, 2007

June 15, 2007

Government roles assigned to Eastern Front officials

Progress is being made on the items negotiated in the October 2006 Peace Agreement between the Eastern Front and the central Sudanese Government.

In Mid-June, 10 parliamentarians of the governing party stepped down to allow room for eight Eastern Front representatives to sit in the parliament. These seats were made available after requests for seats from other parties were refused. It's not clear about the distribution of seats given to Beja representatives.

On May 21, protests took place in Port Sudan when results were made known of who would represent the Eastern Front in the Governement of National Unity parliament. Beja citizens were upset because they make up the majority of the population [80%] in the region, but only a few of nominated representatives were Beja heritage[18%]. They would not have a balanced share of power. Protestors presented a memo to government officials asking that it be passed on to the Presidency, urging that the nominations not be accepted.

Also, on May 16, the Eastern Front named officials to various government posts including the posts of assistant and advisor to Sudan's President Omar el-Bashir as well as a junior minister.

June 1, 2007

Egypt bans female circumcision after death of 12-year-old girl

A young girl died during an operation from an overdose of anesthetic at a private clinic in Minya province in upper Egypt. The government has now banned all medical professionals from perfroming a clitorodectomy, as of June 28, 2007.

Female circumcision was made illegal in Egypt in 1997. It was banned in 1996, but had some health exemptions. They have been eliminated. The practice has continued, especailly in the south despite educational efforts by human rights organizations. Suzanne Mubarak, the president's wife, has campained against clitorectomies.

The Egyptian government says about half of all teenage females have had their clitoris removed. In 2005, research by Unicef found that 96% of Egyptian women aged 15 to 49 who had ever been married reported they had been circumcised.

Muslims and Christians practice circumcision in Egypt and Sudan but it has no basis in either religion. In rural areas, barbers or midwives usually perform the operation.


May 1, 2007

Sudan to conduct census of citizens beginning in November 2007

Under questioning from a member of parliament, the Minister of Presidential affairs stated that a fifth census of the population will be conducted, beginning in November. The expected cost will be $100 Million (US?). The governement will pay $40.7, donors $33 M, and the EU will cover the rest.

UPDATE: The census has been postponed until April 2008.
UPDATE: The census has been completed in early May 2008. Some areas were unreachable - not enough vehicles, etc., and fighting in Darfur made it necessary to make estimates of population in some areas.

Eastern Front fighters to demobilise in June 2007

Four months after announcing the move, and eight months after signing the peace agreement, Eastern Front soldiers will demobilize on June 1. This will remove a security threat to the work of the central Sudanese government in eastern Sudan.

An estimated 1,800 former rebel fighters -- currently in western Eritrea and rebel-held east Sudan -- are to decide whether to return to civilian life or join the Sudanese army or police.

The Eastern Front was formed in 2005 by the eastern Sudan's largest ethnic group, the Beja, and the Rashidiya Arabs. The group has similar aims to its better-known counterparts in Darfur -- greater autonomy and control of resources.

April 3, 2007

BBC reports on growth in Sudan

Khartoum to get new hotels, country grows economically

The BBC reports that Sudan expects to the Gross National Product to grow 11% this year. The skyline of Khartoum is changing as developments like Al-Mogran with its 10 hotels and 60,000 housing units, and a Lybian financed five star, sail shaped hotel are constructed. The one page article notes that growth takes place now, because the civil war with the south is over.

April 2, 2007

New programme greatly reduces deaths of abandoned babies in Khartoum

Reporting to a major newspaper in Toronto,Canada, John Goddard describes the abandoned babies situation in Khartoum. He explores why they get abandoned, and the cultural and institutional methods of caring for those found alive. Efforts in 2002-4 to effect change are explored, including international visits to Romania, the gathering of accurate statistics, training social workers and developing new models of family-based care. A sad story that seems to be changing for the better. Offers insight into Sudanese culture.

April 1, 2007

Eritrean legislation bans clitorectomy

The Eritrean Information Ministry described female circumcision as a dangerous process that threatens the health and lives of women. The practice also causes significant suffering and pain to women, it said.

Legislation was passed in March 2007 to punish anybody that requests, incites or promotes female genital mutilation (FGM).

Practitioners (including many Beja) say that the procedure prepares the women for adulthood, protects their virginity, as well as cleansing them when they reach the age of puberty. It is usually performed when the female is a young girl, by older women.

Though a number of African countries have outlawed the procedure, it is a widespread practice. Eritrean women activists said over 90 percent of Eritrean women have gone through the pains of female circumcision.

Russians provide tons of wheat to help Sudan

The United Nations received a $2 million delivery of 4,205 tons of wheat. The UN will help feed 284,500 school children and 6,000 adults, in the World Food Programme that operates in Red Sea State, Kassala State, and North Kordofan State.


March 4, 2007

Chinese get $1 billion railway contract

March 4, 2007 (BEIJING) — Sudan and China signed 28 February a 1.15 bln USD contract to construct a railway line to link the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, with Port Sudan in the east of the country.
China Railway Engineering Group Co Ltd and China Railway Erju Co Ltd unit Transtech Engineering Corp have jointly won a 1.15 bln USD construction contract in Sudan, according to a statement on the Sichuan province Department of Commerce’s website.
China Railway Engineering Group indirectly controls China Railway Erju Co Ltd.
Inked after two years of negotiations, this contract is considered as the biggest construction contract in the field of the railways ever signed between China and Sudan. The total length of the railway line is 762 kilometres.
The implementation of this project will enhance the capacity of the railways net in Sudan. With a total of 4578 kilometres, the Sudanese railways are considered as the longest in Africa, but its equipments are not upgraded since long-time.

March 2, 2007

Eritrea and Sudan agree to development along border

At the end of the first week of March, the presidents of Sudan and Eritrea agreed to economically develop areas along their common border. Aided in negotiations by Qatari officials, the plan could help to defuse the long-standing tensions between the two countries.

March 1, 2007

Locusts threaten crops along Red Sea coast

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization keeps records of locust populations, and has identified "a developing and potentially dangerous situation" arising from second-generation locust infestations in a region straddling the border between Sudan and Eritrea.

Late instar hopper bands and newly fledged adults are present in pearl millet crops in wadis - dry river beds - and in natural vegetation on the coastal plains. "Within a week, the majority of these populations will become adults and form small immature swarms," UN officials warn.

The hopper bands can transform into mature swarms that are capable of travelling hundreds of kilometers. They usually travel in directions where vegetation is growing, which could be in any direction, north to the plains by the Red Sea, or south and west into the Eritrean hills. Crops can easily be devastated by locusts.

Officials plan to implement ground and aerial control operations in both countries and were "to try to reduce the scale of the expected migration," according to FAO.

NASA image of breeding areas near the Red Sea

Learn about the locust - simple explanation

Learn about the locust - detailed, academic

Every Sudanese child vaccinated for polio

Government health agencies and NGOs will be attempting to immunize every child in Sudan under 5 years with a vaccine against polio. Vaccinators will try to reach 8.7 million children over a 3 day period in late March. Funding and technical support come from United Nations and the World Health Organization, Rotary International as well as countries like Canada and the United States. The 3 day long National Immunization Days were successful in 2006 - no polio cases were reported. In 2004-2005, 155 cases were reported. Officials expect that some children in Darfur may not be reached because of insecure conditions.

Source: United Nations press release. Reference: nids_3_07.pdf

February 1, 2007

British armed boats of the Madhist era to be restored

[London, England]
Sudan's National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums has signed an agreement with a Khartoum based historical society to restore a gunboat and a steamer that were used on the Nile River during the Mahdist era.
The plan is to restore the Gunboat Melik and the Armed Steamer Bordein to working condition. Estimated costs for restoring the Melik run to £ 1.5 M. The hope is that these working boats would allow tourists to experience a British connection to the heritage of Sudan.
The boats were built in England in the late 1800's, then tranported Egypt and assembled on the Nile. The Bordein is in sections in a dockyard on the Nile River in Khartoum. Since 1926, the Melik has been the headquarters for a sailing club.