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