The European Commission (EC) has decided to provide €2 million in emergency assistance to the population of the Greater Darfur Region in Sudan. The funds will be used to provide immediate emergency relief to vulnerable population affected by the armed conflict in the region.
The Greater Durfur Region, representing one fifth of the country's surface area, is one of the poorest in Sudan and since the mid-1980s it has been affected by natural disasters and armed conflicts. According to recent sources provided by the United Nations, the conflict between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan Liberation Army (SLM/A) has caused the displacement and the disruption of livelihoods of approximately 600,000 people.
It is hoped that the recent cease-fire agreement signed between the government and the SLM/A will allow humanitarian agencies to gain more access to Internally Displaced People whose conditions are precarious and may deteriorate rapidly with the upcoming winter.
This latest decision for Sudan comes in addition to the €20 million humanitarian aid plan adopted by the EC in January 2003 and complements the Emergency Decision providing the assistance to Sudanese refugees in Chad. It will focus on basic needs such as shelter, non-food items, health, nutrition, water and sanitation, and will fund measures to protect displaced people from security threats.
The aid to Sudan is part of a larger €13 million EC aid package for Africa. Assistance is being provided for victims of conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, eastern Chad and Sudan. The aid is being directed through the Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) under the supervision of Commissioner, Poul Nielson.
Since 1994, ECHO has allocated close to €200 million in assistance to both government and non-government controlled regions in Sudan. — (menareport.com)
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