Sudan: UN staff returns to Southern Kordofan state

24 February 2012 – The United Nations today welcomed the return of its personnel to Sudan’s Southern Kordofan state, where thousands of people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

Earlier this month, the Security Council had called on the Sudanese Government to give UN humanitarian workers immediate access to areas of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states where there are rising levels of malnutrition and food shortages.

“We firmly believe that the United Nations and other independent and impartial humanitarian organizations have a vital role to play in helping to meet the needs of all Sudanese civilians affected by the fighting,” said Mark Cutts, acting UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the country.

Yesterday, the Government presented the results of an assessment of the humanitarian situation in Southern Kordofan led by the Government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission, and authorized the return. The first two international staff arrived today in the state capital, Kadugli.

Mr. Cutts called for humanitarian assessments to be extended to all conflict-affected areas, and stressed that the top priority in the region is to end the fighting so that displaced people can return to their homes and resume normal lives.

“As long as fighting continues, civilians will suffer,” he said.

Mr. Cutts also stated that the UN, African Union (AU) and the League of Arab States have put forward a joint proposal to facilitate humanitarian access to conflict-affected people throughout Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.

“We hope that we will soon be in a position to operationalize this proposal,” he said. “We need to act very quickly to prevent the humanitarian situation from deteriorating further.”

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