United Nations, New York Headquarters, 28 February 2014
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) hosted a briefing on humanitarian aid efforts in the Republic of Sudan on Friday, February 28, 2014.
Mr. Ali Al-Za’tari opened the meeting giving a brief account of work currently being undertaken by OCHA in Sudan. Of the approximately 6.1 million people in Sudan that require humanitarian assistance, OCHA has been able to reach 5.9 million. Mr. Al-Za‘tari detailed the health concerns throughout the region including impediments to OCHA’s polio vaccination campaign, human trafficking, and deficiencies in health supplies and medical centers. After 10 years in Darfur, Mr. Al-Za‘tari lamented the problem of donor fatigue is plaguing their efforts. Funds are further limited due to OCHA’s efforts in Syria, CAR, and the Philippines.
H.E. Mr. Hassan Hamid Hassan followed with a statement on behalf of the government of Sudan. He expressed concern about the high number of internally displaced persons (IDPs), but stated that the majority of this is due to tribal conflict, not conflict with the government. Mr. Hassan lobbied OCHA to fund projects, for example drilling wells in villages, which would encourage people to leave refugee camps, some of which he dubbed “five-star camps.” H.E. Mr. Téte António followed this statement voicing support for humanitarian aid workers, who he stated were the eyes and ears of diplomats. Also, he expressed that stability in Sudan would benefit the entire region.
Questions were raised by Ms. Katrina Burgess regarding refugees from South Sudan into Sudan and the recent suspension of the actions of the ICRC within Sudan due to the suspension of their visas. A representative from the ICRC in the audience responded that they were about to commence a 3-month negotiation process with the Sudanese government, but meanwhile they had to pull their people out of the country. Mr. Al-Za‘tari also responded that due to budget restraints, OCHA would not be able to staff their facilities.
Full Meeting Title – Briefing on “The humanitarian situation in the Sudan” (by the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sudan) (organized by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA))
Key Speakers – Mr. Ali Al-Za’tari, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan; H.E. Hassan Hamid Hassan, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Sudan to the UN; H.E. Mr. Téte António, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the UN
Written by WIT Representative: Katherine King