The United Nations has revealed that it distributed humanitarian aid to about 2,500 students for the first time in the areas controlled by the popular movement led by Abdel Aziz Al-Hilu.
According to the World Food programme For the first time in ten years, United Nations humanitarian agencies have been able to access conflict-affected communities in the five non-governmental areas controlled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) El Hilu in South Kordofan and Blue Niles states of Sudan.
“This response marks a significant breakthrough in humanitarian access and response to conflict-affected communities previously unreached by UN humanitarian assistance. We commend the local efforts to support essential needs during the years of hardship. The humanitarian community in Sudan is calling for increased access and critically needed assistance to support these marginalized communities,” said Khardiata Lo N’diaye, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General and Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan.
United Nations humanitarian agencies have not been able to reach or provide life-saving assistance to support people in the five locations since 2011, when conflict broke out between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-N. Gaining humanitarian access to these communities provides a critical opportunity to improve lives and rebuild livelihoods.
WFP delivered 100 metric tons of nutritious biscuits for 25,000 school children in 83 schools on the five missions. This was the first assistance that people in these isolated areas had received from the UN in the last decade due to conflict and access constraints. A lack of food for students is one of the main challenges in maintaining school enrolment in these isolated areas. Providing school meals is among the top priorities for WFP’s response as access continues to open.
“Whilst these missions mark a major development, we need to ensure that humanitarian access to children and communities in need is always granted. No conditions should ever be set on access; humanitarian assistance should be provided at all times and from all places to those that need it. Findings from this mission are bleak. These children have been entirely ‘left behind’. We have to act now to ensure these children have a future. Collectively, efforts must be made to ensure access and sustain and scale up assistance,” said Abdullah Fadil, UNICEF Representative in Sudan.
Expanding humanitarian access to SPLM-N controlled enclaves is crucial to providing urgent assistance to an estimated 800,000 people in these areas, who desperately need relief following years of isolation. Ramping up support will help stabilize communities and pave the path for peacebuilding efforts, while reinforcing the UN’s commitment to assist marginalised populations in Sudan.