November 26, 2008

Eastern Desert academic conference

A conference takes place in Cairo: the main lecture is titled "The History of the Peoples in the Eastern Deserts of Egypt and Sudan."

The region between the Red Sea and the Nile Valley in Egypt and Sudan is referred to as the Eastern Desert. The desertification of this region started with the end of the Holocene pluvial period and continues until today. The mobile hunter-herder-gatherers that left the region to settle in the Nile Valley are regarded as one of the driving forces behind the advent of Pharaonic civilization. Despite environmental degradation and scholarly neglect, the Eastern Desert has native inhabitants and a history of its own.

The mineral wealth in the Eastern Desert has attracted outsiders from early times onward, who in turn have been the focus of the attention of historians and archaeologists. The same is true for the trade routes that connected the Nile Valley with sub-Saharan Africa, Arabia Felix, India and the enigmatic Land of Punt. The study of the Eastern Desert is also hampered by the limitations of the historical sources, by the low archaeological visibility of the remains of the desert dwellers, and by ambiguous ethnographic parallels.

A conference organized by the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology (University of California, Los Angeles) at the NVIC aims to address the problems and possibilities of the study of the dwellers of the Eastern Desert, as well as to provide an overview of the current state of our knowledge. The preliminary conclusions of this conference will be presented in this Cleveringa Lecture. The region and its inhabitants, ancient and modern, also bring into focus some ethical issues, especially appropriate as this lecture was instituted to commemorate the courageous moral stance taken by Professor Cleveringa during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

November 24, 2008

Leading cause of death in east Sudan

Top UN official appeals for over $2 billion to fund humanitarian projects
(UN News Service), 20/11/08: The top United Nations relief official on Thursday called for more than $2 billion for humanitarian projects next year in Sudan, with almost half of the funds being earmarked for the war-torn region of Darfur, where violence has uprooted nearly half the 6 million-strong population.

Speaking in Geneva Thursday, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes said that while a quarter of the needs for Sudan have been met, over $1.5 billion is still needed for the vast nation in 2009.
"The extent of the appeal to donors is even more ambitious given the global economic environment and the parallel needs swelling in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Somalia, Ethiopia and elsewhere,"he said at the launch of the fifth annual Sudan Work Plan.

Humanitarian efforts in Sudan must not slacken or be reduced, stressed Mr. Holmes, who also serves as UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.

"More than ever, the international community and the governments concerned need to pull
together to ensure that millions of people are afforded access to relief and recovery assistance," he added. "Otherwise, we risk undermining achievements to date or jeopardizing critical events ahead."

In the past four years, the UN and its partners have endeavoured to deliver food, water, shelter and and other basic services to many parts of the country and have also built clinics and schools.

In some regions of the country, more than half of the population still has no access to clean water, with even fewer able to access proper sanitation, the Coordinator said, adding that diarrhea remains a leading cause of death in parts of Sudan's east.

November 9, 2008

Former Eastern Front Soldiers - what's happening?

According to Akhir Lahza newspaper, NSDDRC embarked on preparations to reintegrate a group of 2900 of the remaining demobilized Eastern Front’s elements by the end of the current year. Eastern Front’s forces have been integrated into the SAF and NISS. Director of the DRR Suaad Abul Raziq told SMC that authorities concerned have actually began integrating 1700 of the Eastern Front’s combatants in addition to 1200 SAF and PDF. The process is funded by various sources including UN. She said so far 1060 combatants have been integrated and the remaining target is 640. The second stage will target 1200 SAF and PDF elements.

Some soldiers have been assigned jobs as drivers in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj.

UNMIS - November 9, 2008.