Sudans cooperation external funds for Darfur crisis needed now UN says

In a closed briefing of the Security Council on what he has called the biggest humanitarian disaster today, the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Jan Egeland, said time was running out.”We are racing against the clock for three related reasons – the access restrictions that have severely constrained our ability to operate, serious funding shortfalls and the slow build-up of our capacity and response over the past moths by some organizations that were absorbed by the ongoing humanitarian challenges in southern Sudan, the Upper Nile and other parts of the country,” he said according to the text of his briefing made available afterwards.On the day the new procedures were announced, 93 visas were outstanding, but with the reduction in the time needed to get visas, OCHA, which had had no permits for two months, was able to send in six additional staff members today, he said.Several major non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were still waiting for visas for more than 60 relief workers, however, he said.The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was told recently that its exemption to import drugs could be revoked, making it liable to experience delays of several months while emergency medical supplies were tested in Sudanese laboratories, he said.”One NGO was told that its food shipment in Port Sudan was not covered by the new emergency procedures because it had arrived by sea and not by air,” Mr. Egeland said.Apparently based on a ministerial decree issued earlier this month, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) was told that it had to use NGOs to distribute food supplies although the capacity of Sudanese NGOs was almost non-existent in some needy areas, he said.In addition, although local trucking capacity is insufficient for the vast quantities of food to be distributed, the Sudanese Government was insisting that only Sudanese trucks be used, he said.Meanwhile, the rainy season was fast approaching, which could make roads impassable for periods of time and the appeal for funding to aid IDPs and Sudanese refugees in Chad has raised only $50 million of the $171 million needed, Mr. Egeland said.With the co-chairmanship of the European Union and the United States, he said, OCHA would convene a high-level donors’ meeting in Geneva on 3 June.”This funding is needed in cash and it is needed now – not in one, two or three months,” Mr. Egeland said. read more