July 24, 2013

Hunger in East Sudan? Let's fix it, please.

Sudan warns of looming famine in eastern region, asks UN help

Text of report in English by independent, Nairobi-based Sudan Radio Service, funded by US State Department on 22 July

A leaked letter purportedly from Sudan's ministry of interior warns of a looming hunger crisis in Eastern Sudan due to lack of rain and... deteriorating environmental conditions.

The alleged letter, written by Interior Minister Ibrahim Hamid Mahmud, is addressed to Ali Hasan Zatari, the UN resident coordinator for humanitarian affairs.

Dated 19 July, 2013, it quotes figures from national health institutions saying that scarcity of rains, deteriorating environmental conditions and conflicts, have contributed to high rates of malnutrition among the general population in eastern Sudan.

The letter adds that these factors have negatively impacted the livelihood of the people in eastern Sudan, and may lead to a disaster.

The letter then urges Zatari's office to fund efforts to cover for the existing food gap. It adds that the implementation of the effort to alleviate the food shortage will be undertaken by the Sudanese Red Crescent Society and government partners in the eastern Sudan states.

"Because of this we write to you hoping for your generous and appropriate contributions in filling the gap, while the implementations will fall on the shoulders of the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) and government partners in the States."

Sudan Radio Service's attempts to contact Zatari for comments on this issue were unfruitful. Efforts to reach [the] commissioner for relief affairs coordination, Sulayman Abd-al-Rahman, were also unfruitful.

[Sudan Interior Minister Ibrahim Hamid Mahmud is from east Sudan and member of the Bani-Aamr ethnic group]

Source: Sudan Radio Service website, Nairobi, in English 22 Jul 13

July 14, 2013

Beja Congress convention underway in Khartoum

 The Beja Congress has not yet made a decision on freezing their participation in the government despite their grievances about the implementation of the 2006 peace agreement, one of its officials told Sudan Tribune today. The federal government has not paid promised funds offered as part of the ESPA.

The official denied reports that emerged claiming that the Beja Congress decided to pull out from the government during its convention currently underway.
However, he noted that they have reservations on the government's behavior towards them and the progress of the peace agreement.

He stressed once inter-party deliberations are completed they will release a statement outlining their final position.

From the Sudan Tribune, via All Africa.

July 6, 2013

Water shortage, so prices rise

 File photo.

The water shortage in Port Sudan is prompting many people to migrate to other cities in Sudan. This is overstretching the bus system, that has seen ticket prices soar from SDG80 ($18) to SDG150 ($35) on the black market, while a tin of water has risen from SDG4 ($0.90) to SDG5 ($1.14).

And activist from Port Sudan told Radio Dabanga that with the ongoing water shortage has caused overcrowding and panic at the bus station.

"As there are no clear solutions in sight, most of the population want to desert the city, so the price of a ticket from Port Sudan to Khartoum and other cities has risen to SDG150 ($35)," he said. "Neither the central government nor the state authorities are serious about finding solutions to the water crisis. When the First Vice President committed visited the city, he promised to provide funds as well as ten large tankers to relieve the crisis, but a month has passed without result, and peoples' suffering continues to grow," the activist lamented.

From June 28, 2013. AllAfrica . Additional info in this article about the malnutrition of children. (see below.)

The Medical Director of the Children's Hospital in Port Sudan, Dr Zafaran Al Zaki, has confirmed that there has been an outbreak of acute malnutrition among children in eastern Sudan.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, Dr Al Zaki said that it is occurring in various segments of society, and affects about 30 per cent of children. She says that this figure can be expected to rise during the period from October to March, attributing it to "economic factors and the acute poverty among people of eastern Sudan".