Islamic Relief (IR) has received permission from the Government of Sudan to operate in the Blue Nile Area. With peace on the horizon, the end of two decades of civil war would give IR the opportunity to address emergencies that have received little attention.
Around 700,000 people live in the Blue Nile region, and they have been severely affected by the prolonged civil war. The insecurity in the area has left it inaccessible to NGOs and the UN for several years. However, the current peace initiative provides an opportunity for local development.
The protracted conflict has destroyed almost all of the infrastructure and created large-scale humanitarian needs. The massive displacement of over 110,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), in addition to those who have crossed the border and settled in neighboring Ethiopian villages, has resulted in a significant loss of assets - particularly livestock. The situation is aggravated by last year's low rainfall.
Once the food basket of Sudan, the Blue Nile State now faces an extremely insecure food situation. Water shortages in some areas mean that women walk up to six hours a day in search of drinking water during the summer. The scale of need in the area requires a concerted response, and IR is gearing up to provide appropriate humanitarian assistance.
IR's Sudan team is currently in the area to carry out needs assessments, meet with key stakeholders, and set up a regional office.
Since 1986, IR has been supporting livelihood programmes, primary health care activities, water and sanitation, vocational training and primary education in Sudan. Recently IR has also gained permission to operate in South Sudan, from both the Government of Sudan and the SPLA/M.