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Aid reaches vulnerable people in Sudan as US and Saudi Arabia urge extension of ceasefire

The United States and Saudi Arabia on Sunday urged rival military factions in Sudan to extend a week-long truce that has allowed aid groups to reach more Sudanese in desperate need of aid and safe shelter. .

“While imperfect, an extension will nevertheless facilitate the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the people of Sudan,” he added. the two countries said in a joint statement.

The fragile ceasefire ends Monday evening. The past week has been one of the calmest since the fighting began and has allowed aid organizations to more safely move emergency aid convoys and set up distribution points, Aida said on Friday. al-Sayed, secretary general of the Sudanese Red Crescent.

Sporadic fighting, particularly in Khartoum and North Darfur, continued despite the ceasefire. The latest truce was the seventh agreed since fighting erupted on April 15 between General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who leads the army, and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who leads the rival Rapid Support Forces.

Hundreds of people have been killed and the fighting has displaced around 1 million Sudanese and sent some 300,000 others to flee to neighboring countries. Many people live in dire conditions without access to health care, water, electricity and safe passage to travel.

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Medina Youssef learned that desperately needed sacks of maize had been distributed in another part of her neighborhood, Jaden, in the Sudanese capital on Saturday. But the 43-year-old mother said she has yet to see any of the humanitarian aid that has been delivered over the past week as part of the truce brokered by Washington and Riyadh.

Youssef hopes to get help quickly in case the ceasefire is not extended. On Saturday, as some clashes continued, a shell landed and nearly killed her son, she told The Washington Post by phone. “We have nothing,” Youssef said.

Under the scorching sun in Jaden on Saturday, Ismaiel Mohamed, the supervisor of a local branch of the Sudanese Red Crescent, helped distribute about a bag and a half of maize to each family in need – that is to say all the families there now, he said. The day before, a convoy sent by the Sudanese Red Crescent had reached Umbada, a town west of the capital, for the first time with food sent by the World Food Programme. It was one of several aid missions in recent days that helped move a wide variety of items, including chlorine to treat water and medical supplies, al-Sayed said.

The Red Crescent has a presence in Darfur but remains unable to send aid to all parts of the region, where ethnic violence has been among the worst, al-Sayed said. If the truce holds, she said, they are ready to start aid.

The World Food Program has reached some 180,000 people in North, East and South Darfur states but could not reach Central Darfur due to heavy violence, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Friday. of UN Secretary General António Guterres. Since the UN agency resumed operations in Sudan on May 9, it has provided more than 600,000 people with food and nutrition support, Dujarric said.

The tenuousness of the truce, however, made it difficult for organizations to plan for what happened next.

“Humanitarian operations in many parts of the country could come to a halt,” Doctors Without Borders warned in a statement on Friday. “Looting and attacks on health facilities and warehouses have significantly reduced our stock. … We call on the parties to the conflict to guarantee humanitarian access and allow us to help the Sudanese people.

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The latest truce enacted a cross-party committee to monitor violations. Wednesdaythe group said there were ‘significant violations’ of the agreement, including ‘use of artillery and military aircraft and drones, credible reports of airstrikes, sustained fighting’ in Khartoum and in Darfur.

After conditions calmed down on Thursday, “urgently needed medical supplies” reached several parts of Sudan, the committee said in a statement, and efforts were renewed to restore some telecommunication services.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned last week that “if the ceasefire is violated, we will know about it and hold violators accountable through sanctions and other means.”

Meanwhile, Youssef said on Sunday that she could not find basic products such as oil, flour and sugar in any store. Any food or medical supplies still available, she said, cost at least double what they cost before the fighting began. Despite the ongoing violence, her family cannot afford the rising cost of transportation to leave.


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