Sudan: Humanitarian access remains difficult despite improved security

23 Jun 2011

Area residents gathered outside UNMIS Kadugli compound after fleeing fighting that erupted in the town during the first week of June. Photos: UNMIS/Paul Banks
Although thousands return to Kadugli, humanitarian workers are still unable to access people in need freely.

In South Kordofan, the security situation in and around the capital Kadugli has generally been calm from 19 to 21 June, although there are reports of three Explosive Remnants of War (ERW)-related incidents in Kadugli by the UN Mine Action Office (UNMAO). Most of the displaced people who had taken refuge by the UNMIS compound near Kadugli have returned to Kadugli, leaving only some 135 South Sudanese returnees who need assistance to move on to South Sudan, according to the latest OCHA situation report.

Interviews with displaced people and field observations by humanitarian workers indicated that a combination of both incentives through assistance and intimidation were used by local authorities to urge people to return home.  

Despite some improvements in the security situation, humanitarian agencies are still unable to freely access the people in need. Until 20 June, Kadugli airport remained closed for UN flights. Several roads in and out of Kadugli to places like Talodi and Kauda are reportedly blocked.

On 21 June, UNMIS was able to make three flights to Kauda, Talodi, and Julud to re-supply their stocks in Kadugli and to relocate staff members.

WFP and local partners such as SRCS will prioritize food distribution to displaced people in locations expected to be inaccessible during the rainy season or in the event that fighting resumes. They plan to focus on the greater Kadugli area, Dilling, Dibebat, Julud, and Kauda.

An estimated 73,000 people have been displaced in South Kordofan since the fighting broke out on 5 June.

Schools will reopen in the first week of July as teachers who had fled the conflict are slowly returning, according to the Minister of Education. At this moment, mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the schools are a threat to voluntarily returned people whose houses were destroyed in the fighting and who are currently settled in schools.

More>> OCHA Situation Report #7 - Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin