Nuba humanitarian assessment under way

Jan 3, 2002 (IRIN)

The Sudanese government's Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and "national and foreign organisations" on Wednesday began an assessment of the humanitarian requirements of the Nuba Mountains region of Southern Kordofan State, south-central Sudan, the official Sudan News Agency reported.

The parties involved also started a humanitarian assessment in the Lagawa, or Al-Lagowa, area (11.24 N 29.08 E), which is on the border of West and Southern Kordofan, west of the Nuba Mountains, it quoted HAC's Director of Emergency Administration, Khalid Faraj, as saying.

The US peace envoy, John Danforth, in November included humanitarian access to the Nuba Mountains region as one of four confidence-building measures he proposed to the Sudanese government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).

The government of Sudan and the SPLM/A later agreed on an internationally monitored cease-fire to cover the Nuba region, and on "military stand-downs" to implement a US-proposed initiative to eradicate polio.

The two parties also agreed to the immediate dispatch of a relief and rehabilitation assessment mission to the Nuba Mountains, the findings of which would serve as the basis for the development of a relief and rehabilitation programme, the US reported in mid-December.

That assessment, which got under way on Wednesday, is due to cover the fields of agriculture, animal resources, health, education, water, roads and food needs, prior to the preparation of rehabilitation and development plans for the areas involved, according to Faraj.

Five technical teams started their missions on Wednesday in Kadugli (11.01 N 29.43 E); Dilling (12.03 N 29.39 E); Hayban (11.13 N 30.31 E); Rashad (11.51 N 31.04 E); Abu-Jebaiha, or Abu Jubayhah (11.27 N 31.14 E); and Talodi or Talawdi (10.38 N 30.23 E), he said. These are all government-held areas in the Nuba Mountains region.

The United Nations was also due to started surveying rebel-held of the Nuba region, SUNA quoted Faraj as saying.

That multi-agency and multi-sectoral effort, which is also to include nongovernmental organisations, is due to start on 8 January and run until 15 January, UN sources told IRIN on Thursday.

Assessment team members would be analysing health and nutritional needs, water and environmental sanitation, education and social structures protection, as well as food security, they said.

In addressing food security, the mission would be looking at emergency food needs, but also the need for agricultural and fisheries support to increase the quantity and quality of household food availability, UN officials added.

There are an estimated 158,000 people in need of emergency food assistance in the Nuba Mountains, according to the USAID. [See:]

It is hoped that the government and UN will agree on a joint report and proposals for an integrated humanitarian assistance package for both government- and rebel-held areas by 21 January, according to humanitarian sources.