KHARTOUM– The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will for the first time expand its activities in South Kordofan to include food distribution, safe drinking water and access to health care, said the group in a statement released in Geneva and Khartoum on Thursday.
The group further said it will increase humanitarian activities in Sudan’s Darfur region which is affected by over 14 years of rebellion and tribal conflicts. Sudanese government since December 2016 allows aid groups to reach affected-civilians in the region without restriction after an agreement reached with Washington.
“Families living in Sudan’s conflict-affected areas have been suffering much too long from the effects of prolonged violence,” ICRC President Peter Maurer said during a three-day visit to Sudan that concluded Thursday.
“It’s notable that the Government of Sudan recognizes these needs and is allowing the ICRC to carry out a broader range of activities in these critical areas,” Maurer further said.
The Red Cross which carries out its humanitarian activities in partnership with the government bodies expressed hope to reach the rebel-controlled area in the future
The government and SPLM-N failed during the past years to reach a cessation of hostilities agreement and to ensure humanitarian access to the civilians in the rebel-controlled areas, as the SPLM-N refused Khartoum’s participation while the government refused to accept that aid reaches the rebel-area directly from abroad.
“The ICRC has a long history of working in Sudan, but no history of working in South Kordofan state. We look forward to being able to assist those in need there,” Maurer further said.
The visiting ICRC head witnessed the opening of an ICRC-repaired water point in South Kordofan to allowing locals to have clean drinking water.
The Red Cross plans to open a new office in Kadugli, a development welcomed by local authorities, the statement said.