IRC Temporarily Suspends Programs in Area of Northeastern Sudan
The International Rescue Committee has decided to suspend humanitarian aid programs in an opposition-controlled region of northeastern Sudan while new access routes to the area are negotiated.
Up until now, the IRC has been delivering basic health care, clean water, sanitation and education services for the area's ethnic Beja population via neighboring Eritrea, which has been the only humanitarian route available.
The IRC's decision to temporarily halt programs follows a request by the UN Mission in Sudan to cease cross-border activities from Eritrea in light of negotiations underway with Sudanese authorities to gain access to the region from Sudan.
"The IRC remains committed to assisting the vulnerable population in this very neglected region,” says Nicola Smith, who oversees the IRC's aid programs in Sudan. "We’re now focusing our efforts on accessing this area from Sudan rather than Eritrea and we hope to restart humanitarian services there as soon as possible.”
Smith stresses that in the meantime, the IRC’s team in this region took steps before it left to ensure that the departure of IRC aid workers would have minimum impact on the communities they assist.
The IRC continues to provide a range of emergency and recovery assistance to hundreds of thousands of war-affected Sudanese throughout Sudan, including the conflict-ravaged southern provinces, Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and other areas in northeastern Sudan.