Sudan aid needs ‘astonishing': British official

KHARTOUMThere is a danger the international community will ignore Sudan’s “astonishing” aid needs, just as the situation in parts of the country deteriorates, a British aid official said Wednesday.

“The numbers are truly astonishing,” said Cate Turton, of Britain’s Department for International Development.

She was speaking at the inauguration of the United Nations and partners 2014 plan for addressing Sudan’s humanitarian needs.

The UN says assisting the 6.1 million needy people — more than half of them in the Darfur region — will require $995 million.

“The situation in Darfur and South Kordofan is rapidly deteriorating,” and a large number of refugees are arriving from South Sudan, Turton said.

“Resources are very short, and I think we are extremely concerned as donors in the international community that Darfur risks slipping off the international community’s radar screen,” leaving Sudan without the resources to meet its aid needs, she said.

The UN says that at the end of March about 200,000 people were newly-displaced by fighting in Darfur, on top of about two million who had already been uprooted in the region’s 11-year conflict.

International peacekeepers in Darfur have said the main cause of displacement in March was alleged attacks by a paramilitary unit against villages and camps for the displaced.

Sudan’s government dismissed the comment as nonsense.

In South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, nearly three years of government-rebel fighting have displaced or severely affected 1.1 million people, the UN says.

Close to 60,000 people are also reported to have crossed into Sudan since December when fighting began between government and rebel forces in neighboring South Sudan.

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