Darfur: UNAMID introduces new initiative to boost humanitarian access

New York, US (PANA) - The UN/AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) on Tuesday announced a new initiative to help aid agencies access hard-to-reach communities in parts of the strife-torn Sudanese region.

A UNAMID statement, made available to PANA in New York, said that the initiative, dubbed: "Operation Spring Basket'', will involve visits to several villages which have been inaccessible to humanitarian workers.

It said that the initiative was put together with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in order to enable humanitarian and relief materials get to Darfurians.

The statement quoted UNAMID Joint Special Representative, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, as saying "I can assure you that this will be an ongoing process and the humanitarian community will follow up in order to deliver humanitarian relief to those in need."

He noted that the mission had been working for months with the Sudanese government and non-signatory movements to open access to areas in the Jebel Marra region and other parts of North and West Darfur, which UN agencies believe may be in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

"One of the foremost priorities for UNAMID is facilitating safe and free access for humanitarian agencies and NGOs into areas that are suffering from conflict and difficult to reach because of it,” Gambari stated.

The envoy also said that, ``UNAMID has undertaken intense negotiations and outreach to secure access to these areas, which are controlled by various parties''.

``We will provide security and logistical support to the humanitarian community intending to bring assistance to the region, regardless of who controls the territory,''he added.

Gambari further said: ``We are fully committed to ensuring the protection of civilians where we can implement UNAMID’s core mandate of protecting civilians and facilitating humanitarian delivered''.

According to UNAMID, humanitarian agencies working in Darfur continue to face challenges in accessing populations affected by conflict owing to the vastness of the territory, poor road conditions, erratic security and blockages posed by the parties.

It, however, said that, ``despite the challenges, UNAMID is working to assist the population of the region, where it has been working since 2008 to quell the fighting and ease the humanitarian suffering''.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 3May2011

03 may 2011 14:35:25

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