UNHCR seeking humanitarian access in Kadugli, Sudan

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 14 June 2011, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR is appealing to authorities in Kadugli, capital of the state of South Kordofan in Sudan, as well as the Central Government to allow air and road access for humanitarian agencies trying to help thousands of people who have been uprooted by fighting between the forces of North and South Sudan.

For nearly one week now, humanitarian flights have been denied authorization to land in Kadugli despite our efforts to secure such an agreement. Land access is also being hampered by armed militiamen who have set up roadblocks, from which we are hearing reports of harassment of people on the move. Insecurity means our operations are severely constrained and UNHCR is currently unable to reach a warehouse just five kilometres from the UN peacekeeping mission's base in the city. The warehouse contains supplies to assist 10,000 displaced people.

UNHCR currently knows of an estimated 41,000 displaced people around Kadugli and in Southern Kordofan State, whom we are seeking fuller access to. But we fear that many more have been forced to flee their homes and are continuing to do so as fighting continues. Most are women and children. UNHCR is coordinating humanitarian assistance in and around Kadugli where despite the hostile environment, aid agencies have managed to deliver food and other relief material to some 6,000 internally displaced people. This is far below the number we would be able to reach if we had secure access.

Heavy fighting has been going on in and around Kadugli since last week and air strikes can still be heard in the vicinity. The civilian casualties include 10 confirmed deaths.

For further information on this topic, please contact:

  • In Geneva: Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba on mobile +41 79 249 3483