Nuba Mountains receive first emergency aid in more than a decade

Africa on Line
20 July 2000

Earlier this month, two United Nations buffalo aircraft carrying approximately 14 tons of emergency supplies flew from Lokichokio, Sudan, to El Obeid, arriving in the Nuba Mountains, an area long cut-off from international humanitarian assistance. The planes represented the first shipment of officially sanctioned goods and equipment to the non-government-controlled Nuba Mountains since 1988. As such, the shipment offers hope that access to Nuba's estimated 400,000 people may soon be a reality.

CARE provided 1.4 tons of cowpea seeds and 2,465 farm tools - more than 50 percent of the total agricultural goods in the shipment. Other supplies included educational materials.

"This shipment opens the door," says Scott Faiia, CARE director in South Sudan. "It is the first step toward wider access to the people of the Nuba Mountains."

The supplies were delivered to the Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Organization (NRRDO), a local group that will distribute the supplies in accordance to a plan it submitted to the United Nations. Before arriving in the Nuba Mountains, the planes stopped in El Obeid for inspection by officials of the government of Sudan.

The Nuba Mountains region encompasses an area the size of Liberia. As the strategic geographical center of a long-running conflict, people living in this area have been cut off from international humanitarian assistance since 1988. In September 1999, a team including staff of the United Nations and CARE entered the Nuba Mountains to assess prospects for the delivery of relief aid. Since that time, agencies have continued to push for expanded access.

CARE has been operating large-scale health, agriculture and emergency programs on all sides of the conflict in Sudan. CARE and other agencies have been advocating a "just peace" in Sudan so that the civilian victims of the internal conflict can start to rebuild their lives after two decades of violence.