UN mission in Sudan says AU will increase security to allow humanitarian

After several instances of armed men looting humanitarian assistance in the troubled Darfur region of western Sudan, the African Union (AU) has agreed that its peacekeeping forces will increase security in designated areas, the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said today.The Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Humanitarian Coordinator, Manuel da Silva, travelled to Geneina on Monday to discuss with the Government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the AU ways to curtail the security violations that are seriously affecting humanitarian operations in West Darfur.“An agreement was made with the African Union to increase security along the main routes and efforts are expected from government authorities to improve the operating environment for humanitarian work in the area,” UNMIS said.Meanwhile, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and its partner agencies have distributed about 96 metric tons of food as part of its assistance to 7,689 people affected by floods in Damazine, Blue Nile state, the mission said. In the areas worst affected by the floods, 2,728 people received two months of half- rations, while about 4,961 people in locations less affected are receiving a half-month ration, it said.In another complication, nearly a third of Sudan, Africa’s largest country, is suspected of being contaminated by unexploded ordnance (UXO) – landmines, bombs, ammunition – but lack of capacity, the size of the country, weather conditions and difficulty of movement have inhibited clearance activities, it said.Due to lack of survey capacity and an effective victim reporting system, especially for south Sudan, the exact number of landmine/UXO victims remains unknown. “In terms of victim statistics, we have 1,789 casualties reported to our offices and recorded in the database,” UNMIS said, quoting the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS).In south Sudan, meanwhile, four attacks on isolated villages near the town of Torit, East Equatoria State, have been attributed to Sudanese-based Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), but the identities of the attackers have not been confirmed, the mission said.The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) will begin repatriating thousands of Sudanese refugees from Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) at the end of the year, it added. read more