January 15 2007
People worried despite stable situation in Sudan hotspots
15/01/2007 - Despite the ceasefire among the warring factions in South Sudan and Darfur, people are still worried that conflict may erupt once again. SOS Children's Villages Sudan is also concerned about shortages in medicine and clean water in its facilities in these areas.
Hotspots in South Sudan and Darfur are experiencing a lull in the fighting that has allowed normal life to return to these areas. SOS emergency relief activities have restarted in Abu Shok refugee camp in Al-Fashir, Darfur. Most of the psychologists and social workers have returned to work in the psycho-social centres. Work with the patients and beneficiaries of the three centres has started once again.
The situation in SOS Children's Village Malakal is also stable, but cholera is still spreading among the residents of the area, especially children. SOS Children's Villages Sudan is providing emergency medical assistance in the form of medication for the children in the SOS Children's Village, as well as those being treated in the local children's hospital.
Most international organisations and NGOs have returned to work in both Darfur and Malakal, especially the World Food Programme and other UN agencies. Several NGOs, however, have not resumed activities in the conflict areas. Airplanes are flying into Darfur and Malakal, but flights to Darfur are not as regular as before the conflict and there are no scheduled flights to the area of Malakal. Telephone communications are still unstable, and co-workers from SOS Children's Villages Sudan in Khartoum are relying on satellite telephones to communicate with Darfur and Malakal.
Mr. Ali Mahdi, director of SOS Children's Villages Sudan, said that despite the relative quiet in both Darfur and Malakal, people are still worried and tense regarding the situation. Co-workers at the SOS Emergency Relief Centres in Darfur and those in the SOS Children's Village Malakal are afraid of conflict breaking out again in the areas. Mr. Mahdi also said that the centres in Darfur and the SOS Children's Village in Malakal are both suffering from shortages in clean water and medication, some of which are being sent from Khartoum.
During a visit to Darfur on 10 January, Mr. Ali Mahdi visited the town of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, where there is a similar refugee problem as that in Al-Fashir. SOS Children's Villages Sudan is now considering starting an emergency relief programme similar to the one in Abu Shok refugee camp in Al-Fashir.