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As Sudan’s Nuba Region Reaches Near-Famine Levels, Disagreement on How to Deliver Aid.
Here’s the basic dilemma: the Sudanese government is not permitting aid to reach increasingly vulnerable people living near the South Sudanese border. One idea on the table is to force the aid in the country–presumably at the barrel of a gun. Of course, there is a big downside to that strategy. “The United States has warned that the country this month will reach a phase four-level food emergency, one stage short of full-out famine, without a major relief effort. And American officials have been quietly building up food stocks in the area and are considering the prospects of supporting cross-border aid distribution operations that are opposed by the Sudanese government, according to senior U.N. officials and private aid groups…Officials say that [US Ambassador Susan] Rice is sympathetic to the argument for cross-border operations, which were used to stave off hunger in the Nuba Mountains during the 1990s. The relief assistance then was channeled through several Norwegian and American relief organizations with operations in the area. …But the proposal has faced stiff resistance from the U.N.’s chief humanitarian relief agencies, including the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, and several humanitarian relief groups with operations in Sudan. They fear that the effort would provoke the government into moving against relief agencies, and would undermine the chief principle of humanitarian neutrality. (Foreign Policy http://bit.ly/y0nd09)