Archive for October 6, 2011

South Sudan refugees await train ride home

Posted: October 6, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

By Simon Martelli (AFP)

KHARTOUM — For nine months, Carlo has lived like so many South Sudanese stranded in the north — hungry and jobless, in a makeshift camp, never knowing when he will leave for his newly-independent homeland.

Finally, the 1,300-kilometre (810-mile) train journey looks set to begin, but it will take him through a war-zone and could last more than two weeks.

"We have stayed here a long time, and we have suffered from many things. When the train comes to collect us, we will be so happy," said the 60-year-old father of five.

The camp that has sprung up around Shajara train station, in a southern suburb of Khartoum, now has around 3,700 inhabitants, all from South Sudan’s Bahr al-Ghazal region, but remains without running water or sanitation.

Some have been waiting here for 11 months.

There are many more stuck in other transit camps, most notably in the port town of Kosti, south of Khartoum, where 13,000 people await barge transport up the White Nile river, and in Renk, south of the border.

But over the next three months, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) plans to repatriate 18,000 southerners, two-thirds of them by rail and the rest by river, with the first train due to leave Shajara by the end of next week.

"There is no work here. So we don’t have any money and we don’t have food. We want to go to our country," said Adud Wol Wol, a mother of six.

Coming to Khartoum in 1988, Adud was among the millions of southerners who fled north during the devastating 22-year conflict between the government and the former southern rebels.

Since last year, they have been streaming back to participate in the building of their new nation, which gained formal independence on July 9, and to escape the uncertainties in the north where they have been forced to apply for residency and many stripped of their jobs.

"There is fear here. Sometimes there is violence. They have taken away our freedom and if we stay here we will not find work," said Carlo, adding that separation had "complicated everything."

At least 360,000 southerners have returned to the south since October, but support from Juba, the southern capital, has been limited and sporadic, mainly due to lack of funds.

The IOM has already transported 14,000 returnees from the north by barge this year and says the poor conditions in the transit camps have galvanised financial support for its latest repatriation project.

"The biggest argument for getting more money from the donors was to avert a humanitarian crisis," said Johannes Braun, the group’s deputy programme coordinator.

At crowded camps like the one in Kosti, which was built to accommodate only 1,200 people, there is a high risk of diarrhoea and malaria outbreaks among its inhabitants, many of whom already suffer from malnourishment.

The IOM says it faces major logistical challenges in maintaining international standards during the train journeys — which could take up to three weeks — including the provision of food, water and medical care.

Travelling in convoys of three, each carrying up to 1,500 people, the trains will pass through the conflict state of South Kordofan. So their safety is also a serious concern, especially after a deadly attack on a train carrying southern returnees in June.

On Wednesday, the ministry of humanitarian affairs agreed to ensure the security of the train convoys.

Another problem facing the returnees is the question of luggage, which the IOM says it has to limit due to space constraints, and because it slows down the process.

In the Shajara camp, huge piles of belongings such as metal bed frames, chairs and mattresses, are stacked up behind the tents, simple possessions that they want to use to build their new lives, when they eventually reach their destination.

Carlo says he sent members of his family ahead of him and waited behind, specifically so that he could bring his furniture with him.

"I think they will be able to take our things — one load each time," he added hopefully.

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved. More »

Government, IOM Agreement for Repatriating South Sudan Citizens 29d1794d-b789-cc95.jpg

Khartoum – The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have signed agreement yesterday for repatriating about 12,000 displaced citizens of the Republic of South Sudan from Khartoum.

According to Salah Osman, Senior Liaison Operations Officer, arrangements are being made for repatriating 6,000 displaced citizens of Republic of South Sudan (RSS) stranded at Kosti harbor to Juba soon.
Osman added the agreement has been reached within the framework of completing IDPs’ voluntary return program.

He added IOM has repatriated about 116,000 IDP’s from the Republic of Sudan to the Republic of South Sudan since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 within the partnership between IOM and the National Center for the Displaced (NCD).

On his part, NCD’s director, Taj El Sir Al-Omda, has said the deplorable condition in which RSS’s citizens live at open areas in Khartoum and those stranded at Kosti Harbor is attributed to the repatriation of RSS’s citizens implemented by RSS’s Commission for Reconstruction in 2010 following the referendum voting results.

He added the Republic of Sudan’s Presidency has provided SDG 10 million to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs for implementing the program in support of voluntary return according to the directive of President Al-Bashir.

Al Omda who signed on behalf of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs said the stoppage of the voluntary return program is attributed to non preparation of voluntary return regions and noncompliance of donors as regard their commitment in addition to tribal conflict in RSS.
He lauded IOM’s role in repatriating about 2 million displaced persons since the signing of CPA in 2005 to South Kordofan, South Blue Nile and South Sudan.

Al Omda said about 7,000 displaced persons were repatriated in mid September this year through steamers from Kosti Harbor and that the total persons who have been repatriated through river transportation stood at about 42,792 persons.

"The total number of remaining RSS’s citizens stranded at Kosti Harbor stands at about 11,000 according to latest statistics," he said.
On her part, IOM’s director in Sudan, Jill Helke, said they have repatriated about 14,000 persons form Kosti Harbor to Juba and other regions in RSS.
She added a number of obstructions stand in the way of repatriation trips organized by IOM, the most important of which being the tons of luggage and personal belongings of the returnees, tension amongst returnees because of absence of information about procedures of their return and misunderstanding of the international community’s role with respect to their repatriation.

Helke attributed the slowness of repatriation process to reasons relating to IOM’s commitment to international standards relating to such operations with respect to security, health and safety matters.

She complained of the huge quantities of luggage and said IOM is not concerned with transporting such luggage since IOM is concerned with supporting the repatriation of the displaced.

However, she said the agreement has been reached recently for addressing this issue between IOM, NCD and RSS’s Reconstruction Commission according to which IOM has been allowed fixed percentage for transporting luggage provided RSS’ government should bear cost of transporting remaining luggage.

By Zuleikha Abdel Raziq, 19 hours 18 minutes ago

South Sudan has sold 22mln barrels of oil, worth $2.14 billion

Posted: October 6, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Economy

(AFP) –

JUBA — South Sudan has sold 22 million barrels of oil to international buyers through the north’s Port Sudan export terminal since independence, at an estimated value of $2.14 billion, the oil ministry said.

The announcement, made late on Wednesday, comes in spite of a bitter unresolved row between Khartoum and Juba about the fees the south owes for using the north’s oil infrastructure.

“Since achieving independence on July 9, 2011, the ministry of petroleum and mining… has contracted the sale of 22 million barrels for export crude oil,” the ministry said in a statement.

“This volume covers the July through October 2011 period and is transiting by ship through Port Sudan marine terminal to international buyers located in Asia and Europe.”

“The ministry estimates the total value of exports for this period at $2.14 billion (1.6 billion euros), based on current market prices,” it added.

South Sudan, which formally split from the north on July 9, produces three-quarters of Sudan’s total crude output of around 470,000 barrels per day.

It is one of the poorest countries in the world, after decades of war with the north that left the resource-rich country in ruins. Oil accounts for more than 95 percent of its total revenues.

But negotiations on how to divide the industry are in limbo, with the two sides far apart on what they consider to be an acceptable arrangement.

The Khartoum government is desperately short of hard currency, and wants to charge the south $32 per barrel for the use of its oil infrastructure, including pipelines, refinery and export facilities.

Juba has rejected this charge, calling it “daylight robbery,” and has argued that 41 cents per barrel, which Cameroon charges Chad for the use of its pipeline, is a fair international standard.

On Wednesday, the US nominee for ambassador to South Sudan called on north and south to reach an oil-sharing deal quickly to avert “economic stresses.”

“Right now both sides are allowing the oil to continue to flow and to be exported but, without something solid pretty quickly, both countries will really face some serious economic stresses,” Susan Page told a US Senate confirmation hearing.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir was due to visit Khartoum this week, for the first time since southern independence, to discuss all the key outstanding issues with his northern counterpart, Omar al-Bashir, including oil and borders.

But the visit has been repeatedly postponed.

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved. More »

South Sudan contracts oil sales worth $2.14 billion
Africa’s newest nation sold 22 million barrels of crude between July and October, shipping it from North Sudan
Reuters, Thursday 6 Oct 2011

New African oil producer South Sudan expects US$2.14 billion from the sale of crude since its independence in July, the petroleum ministry said on Wednesday.

South Sudan took 75 per cent of Sudan’s oil production of 500,000 barrels a day when it became Africa’s newest nation after an independence vote.

South Sudan has contracted the sale of 22 million barrels of crude oil for the July-October period to buyers in Asia and Europe, the ministry said in a statement. The oil is shipped through the northern Sudanese oil port of Port Sudan.

South Sudan needs to export its crude through Port Sudan because it has no sea access and owns no pipeline. It will have to pay Khartoum a pipeline transit fee over which both sides have reached no agreement yet. Analysts expect South Sudan to pay less than the 50-50 split agreed so far with Khartoum.–billion.aspx

Global Climatic Changes Threatening Country’s Food Security

Posted: October 6, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Matata Safi

6 October 2011

press release

Juba — The minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Hon Joseph Lual Acuil has said that a food security crisis caused by the global climatic changes is looming in South Sudan and warned that a positive intervention is urgently needed to stop it from deteriorating into a famine situation similar to that in the Horn of Africa.

The minister sounded this warning yesterday during the weekly media briefing at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting chaired by the minister for Information and Broadcasting Hon Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin who is also the Official Spokesperson of the government of the Republic of South Sudan.

Hon Lual was quick to clarify that this situation does not mean that there is a crisis of famine in the country. He said the climatic changes have affected South Sudan in both floods and droughts. He said rainfall that was supposed to have started early this year was delayed. He also said this change in rainfall patterns has led to repeated planting for instance in Central Equatorial which he said was tedious for farmers and costly in labor and seeds. The minister said in other parts of the country planting was started in April and with the dry spell in June the production could not be relied on. He said this scenario has caused food shortage.


The minister said the current heavy rainfall that started in September is most likely to continue up to December this year as per the report of the IGAD Centre for Climate Information. He said this will most likely affect crops and subsequently result into floods as has been witnessed in Torit in Eastern Equatoria State where recent floods washed away crops and homes.

Hon Lual explained that a survey carried out in September by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry indicates that there is a food gap of 300,000 to 400,000 metric tons to keep the country up to February 2012 when the next rainy season is expected. He said currently about 1.3 million people are vulnerable. The minister said this group includes the IDPs, returnees as well as the farmers who lost their crops to the dry spell or floods. He said this may increase or decrease. He also reported that another assessment is on that is expected to publish its results mid this month. He explained that it is this second study which will show the exact food deficit in the country.

The minister further said the states most affected are Jonglei, which he said is completely under water; Unity state; Upper Nile; Warrap; Northern Bahr el Ghazal; parts of Western Equatoria; and parts of Eastern Equatoria. The minister said that in Upper Nile the situation is critical due to the high presence of the IDPs and returnees.

Hon Lual said that his ministry, and indeed the government, is working on a roadmap to address to this looming crisis. He said the President of the Republic H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit has already donated some money through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management to mitigate the situation in Warrap State and that some food has already been distributed there. He said humanitarian organizations like World Food Program (WFP), ICRC, and SSRRC and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs have already been to Kwajok and reported that the situation is now being managed.

He further said there is food in store and that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and the World Food Program are looking for a plane to airlift it to Uron in Jonglei State which has witnessed inter-clan clashes early last month in which food and animals were raided.

The minister said he will lead a delegation together with the head of UNDP, Liz Grande, to New York in the first week of December to appeal to donors for support. He said once the report is out, they will present it to the donors. He asserted that if the international community is able to donate just a part of what is required then the government and the local community will have to meet the balance.

He said there are also plans to preposition food stores in 110 locations across the country in areas expected to experience food shortages. This would, he said, would ensure that if a crisis occurs, then food is available within reach as opposed to the current situation where food supply is limited due to limitations of transportation systems.

He further called on all South Sudanese to exercise patience towards this situation and said the government is working hard to address it. He called on leaders to take up the lead in agriculture to show the rest of the population how to be self-reliant.

South Sudan: Two New Roads In Lake State Show Way To Food Security

Posted: October 6, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

JUBA    Construction of two new roads linking local farmers to markets has been inaugurated this week in Lakes State as part of a three-year partnership between the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the South Sudan Ministry of Transport to build a total of 500 km of feeder roads to help boost agriculture development in the newly independent country.

The two roads, totalling 114 km, will connect the villages of Karich with Amok Piny and Aluakluak with Akuoc Cok, providing farmers with better access to markets in Rumbek East County in Lakes State. The project is being carried out in close cooperation with the Ministry for Roads and Bridges and local government authorities. "We are proud to be starting the construction of this road, which will connect food producers to markets and will connect isolated communities," said Chol Tong Mayay, Governor of Lakes State, speaking at an inauguration ceremony. "It is the beginning of development in our newly independent country; it is the beginning of service delivery.

After having fought for so many years it is like a dream coming true." The road construction is part of WFP’s support to the Government of South Sudan to overcome some of the major obstacles to developing agriculture. Feeder roads which link areas with high agricultural potential to trunk roads will provide farmers with easier access to markets for their crops, thereby stimulating production and trade. "We suffer from insecurity and a lack of services.

If a woman is having trouble giving birth, we have to transport her to the clinic by bicycle. The road will change everything. It will give us access to trade and services", explained Kuoi Maluach, the chief of Paloich, one of the remote villages which will be connected by the new road.WFP plans to build 500 km of feeder roads throughout South Sudan, said the organization’s new Country Director, Chris Nikoi: "South Sudan has tremendous agricultural potential and yet only 4 percent of arable land is currently cultivated.

The building of feeder roads throughout South Sudan is an absolute necessity if this country is to be able to rapidly produce enough food for its citizens and to eventually realize its great potential in agriculture." The two roads in Rumbek East are being built with funding from the South Sudan Recovery Fund. WFP has contracted the German organization GIZ to undertake the construction works which will be completed by July 2012. To ensure the long life of the feeder roads, local authorities and communities are being trained in road maintenance.

Since 2004, WFP has repaired 2,600 km of trunk road, linking eight out of the ten state capitals and connecting South Sudan to Uganda and Kenya via four corridors.The two feeder roads are being constructed as part of the Lakes State Stabilisation Programme, which aims to show the benefits of peace and encourage the participation and empowerment of communities affected by conflict and poverty.