Teams begin survey of relief needs in Sudan's Nuba Mountains

Jan 3, 2002 (AFP)

Teams have begun assessing humanitarian aid needs in government- and rebel-held areas in the Nuba Mountains of central Sudan, under a recent US-brokered agreement, a government relief official said Thursday.

The governmental Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Sudanese non-governmental organisations began joint operations in government-controlled areas, HAC Emergency Unit chief Khalid Faraj told SUNA news agency.

Another team of the United Nations had started similar work in areas controlled by the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), Faraj said.

He added that the two teams would prepare a joint report on the outcome of the two-week survey which covers agriculture, livestock, health, education, water, roads and food needs prior to issuing an appeal for development of the region.

A UN operation to airdrop food to SPLA-controlled areas of the Nuba Mountains was completed in early December, with more than 2,000 tons delivered in four weeks.

However, an official from the UN World Food Program was quoted by Al Ayam daily last month as saying that there were some areas of the Nuba mountains where aid had not been distributed for more than two years.

The government and the SPLA have agreed to extend a truce in the Nuba mountains in place since last month to allow relief supplies to be distributed in the area, the US State Department said earlier.