Bashir orders full aid access to South Sudan famine areas
President Omar al-Bashir has ordered Sudanese authorities to assist the delivery of international humanitarian aid to famine-hit South Sudan through the country, an official said Thursday.
On Monday, South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation formed after splitting from the north in 2011, declared famine in some regions, saying 100,000 people faced starvation and another million were on the brink of famine.
“President Omar al-Bashir has ordered Sudanese authorities to offer all necessary facilities to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches South Sudan through Sudanese territories,” Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said in a statement.
Ghandour said Bashir has ordered assistance to all NGOs, aid agencies of the United Nations and also other countries trying to deliver supplies to South Sudan.
“This is to ease the suffering of the South Sudanese people,” the minister said.
Aid groups have slammed a “man-made” famine caused by bloodshed in South Sudan where civil war has forced people to flee, disrupted agriculture, sent prices soaring and cut off aid agencies from some of the worst-hit areas.
South Sudan has been engulfed by civil war since 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his rival and former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup.
More than 300,000 South Sudanese refugees have arrived in Sudan since the war erupted, according to the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR.
Over 65 percent of the refugees are children, with many of them arriving with critical levels of malnutrition, it said.
UN aid officials are monitoring the Sudan-South Sudan border in anticipation that thousands more could flee to the northern neighbour due to the famine situation.