Monthly Archives: June 2012

Surgeon to Nuba to evaluate medical needs: Will blog here as often as he can.

Dr. Alan Koslow a Des Moines surgeon will be joining a team to evaluate and organize a newly formed refugee camp.  Three weeks ago a humanitarian disaster of almost unprecedented proportions began to occur.  A new refugee camp has sprung up with 30,000 refugees currently and an expected 40,000 to pass through shortly.  1,000 are joining the camp daily, which has no  sanitation, shelter, safe water, food or medical care. Team Rubicon , an organization of veterans dedicated to international and national disaster relieve, is organizing the mission at the request of International Medical Corps (IMC) .  The goal of the team, as the first NGO on site, will be to evaluate the situation and plan the response to this humanitarian disaster.  There will be sanitation, housing water, food and medical experts on the team.  Dr. Koslow will be responsible for evaluating the actual and potential medical problems and what will be needed to treat and prevent them.

The team will leave Monday June 25, 2012 and return July 15, 2012. The team will be headed by Team Rubicon board member Andrew Stevens.    Andrew Stevens works as the Alaska state planner for critical infrastructure and heads the security vulnerability assessment team for the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Prior to this he worked as the community emergency planner for the division. A former U.S. Marine, he acted as an Assistant Operation Chief and react team leader for Tango 5/11 during the initial assault on Iraq in 2003. Dr. Koslow has nine international medical mission under his belt.  This includes Haiti ten days after the earthquake when he did 32 emergency operation but saved over 60 more non-surgical cases.

In addition to poverty South Sudan remains in conflict with Sudan over the border with both armed forces attacking each other’s territory. There are regular of exchanges of rockets and artillery fire between the south Sudan and Sudan armed forces. Sudan has also been accused of aerial bombings of South Sudan territory along the disputed border towns. The refugee camps have not experienced any attack but an out of target bombing incident by the north Sudan cannot be ruled out.

The refugee camp in South Sudan:

Maban, Upper Nile state, South Sudan refugee complex
Introduction:
Hofra refugee camp is located in the Upper Nile state of South Sudan.  It is a transit site (30 km from the disputed Sudan – south Sudan border) was set up in mid May in order to move refugees further away from the Sudan border of El-Fuj site (10 km from south Sudan border) due to security concerns. According to UNHCR, the transit site currently hosts 30,000 refugees who are on transit to other refugee camps of Batil, Doro and Jamam and are composed of Sudanese refugees in South Sudan, primarily fleeing from Sudan’s Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states. The location is remote, flood prone and lacks adequate water. UNHCR also estimates that an additional 40,000 refugees will be crossing the border via El-Fuj to Hofra in the next few weeks.

The International Medical Corps:

IMC’s Background in South Sudan:
International Medical Corps began implementing programs in South Sudan more than a decade before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed. Early programs focused on delivery of primary and secondary health services, as well as the reduction of neglected tropical diseases including River Blindness (Onchocerciasis) and Sleeping Sickness (Trypanosomiasis) among others.
International Medical Corps works in rural and urban areas focusing on improving immediate and long-term health service provision. Their work in 49 primary and secondary health facilities impacts nine counties across four states on both sides of the Nile River. Through these and other structures, International Medical Corps serves more than 483,000 refugees, returnees, and other vulnerable populations with a fully integrated package of public health services such as primary health care (including maternal and child health), secondary health care, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, Water/Sanitation, and capacity building programs.
The civil war ended in 2005 with the signing of the CPA giving South Sudan autonomy and its people the right to self-determination through a referendum on independence after six years. The referendum took place in January 2011 and the Republic of South Sudan became a sovereign state on July 9, 2011. However, despite many successes under the CPA, South Sudan remains one of the most underdeveloped areas in the world.

Dr. Koslow will be available in Des Moines until 2 PM Sunday June 24, 2012.  He will also be blogging on his facebook page  http://www.facebook.com/alan.koslow and at the Blog Help Nuba  http://helpnuba.net/.

 

Media Silenced in Sudan

The National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in Sudan told three Sudanese newspapers on Sunday not to distribute their print runs. According to the Sudan Tribune:

The privately-owned dailies Al-Ahdath, Al-Watan and Al-Jarida received orders from the NISS not to distribute their print run on Sunday without giving them any reasons.

The newspapers have been instructed not to report on interactions with rebel leaders from Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile or with South Sudanese officials. It would appear that the Khartoum regime is also unhappy with reports about the removal of fuel subsidies or criticism of the National Congress Party (NCP).

The absence of a free press in Sudan and the expulsion of NGOs operating the regions of conflict make it even more difficult to obtain information about the situations in the border regions and easier for the Khartoum regime to worsen the abuse of their populations. Problematically for the regime, however, is the fact that this type of action also gives the internal opposition the ability to argue that the NCP is simply doing this to hide information that would benefit them politically, something that may well be true in this case. In the context of protests called about rising prices in Sudan, the NCP may have felt compelled to try to silence the media.

Weak Military Leads to Bombing and Starvation

Sudan’s economic woes coupled with regular losses by its ground forces and the increasing cohesion of the Sudan Revolutionary Forces (SRF) have led directly to the Khartoum regime’s campaign to defeat the rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile through bombing civilians in the midst of harvesting crops, planting them, or working with livestock in an attempt to create a famine. It boggles the mind that United States is allowing Khartoum to pursue this tactic while hundreds of thousands of lives are at risk. The US must act with or without support from the United Nations. Consensus will never come and hundreds of thousands will die. Help Nuba!

Please read the SPLM-North’s urgent appeal if you have not.

Urgent Appeal from the SPLM-N Leadership

Urgent Appeal from the SPLM-N Leadership
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS ARE FACING IMMINENT DEATH IN SUDAN IN FRONT OF THE EYES AND EARS OF THE WORLD
It is now one year since war started by Khartoum in the Nuba Mountains/South Kordofan and the Blue Nile. Approximately half a million are internally displaced and hundreds of thousands have become refugees as a result of continuous aerial and ground bombardments for the entire year. Systematic policies by Khartoum and war indicted criminals, headed by General Bashir, use mass starvation as a weapon and genocidal militias, army and aerial bombardments against civil populations. General Bashir ignores the bleeding and the efforts to open access for humanitarian operations; refused the tri-partite proposal that was signed by the SPLM-N, the United Nations, the African Union and the Arab League four months ago; and ignores the Security Council Resolution 2046 article 4, which urges him to agree to the tri-partite proposal.
Given the SPLM-N’s consultation in Addis Ababa in the first week of this month with the AU High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), the Chair of IGAD and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, the US Special Envoy, the United Nations, the African Union and the Arab League, it is evidently clear that Khartoum is not for the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution that will open access for a humanitarian operation. At the same time, in the last three weeks, more massive displacement is taking place. Thousands of people are starving and thousands are crossing the borders as refugees into the Republic of South Sudan. More than 30,000 crossed the border from Blue Nile into the Republic of South Sudan in the last three weeks, and 500-700 are crossing on a daily basis from the Nuba Mountains to South Sudan. This has been reported by the UN and credible NGOs, the last being MSF.
The “on border operations” have no capacity to respond to this situation. Courageous politicians, human rights activists, journalists, NGOs and notable and prominent personalities from all over the world have voiced their concern and worries on the fate of hundreds of thousands who are facing imminent death by hunger or war crimes. Among them are late Congressman Donald Payne, Congressman Frank Wolf, Congressman Michael Capuano, Congressman Chris Smith, Congressman James McGovern, Congressman John Olver, Congressman Jim Moran, Congressman Al Green, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Senator John McCain, Senator John Kerry, Senator Chris Coons, Senator Johnny Isakson, Senator Dick Durbin, Senator Roger Wicker, Baroness Caroline Cox, Martin Luther King III, Nick and George Clooney, Rev. Franklin Graham, Eric Reeves, Mukesh Kapila, John Prendergast, Nicholas Kristof, Greta Susteren, Ken Isaacs, Andrew Natsios, Roger Winter, Pam Omidyar, Tom Andrews, Ryan Boyette, Humanity United, the NAACP, Act for Sudan, American Jewish World Service, Enough Project, and United to End Genocide. These are among many and we regret being unable to mention all strong voices that are giving hope to the Sudanese people and especially the displaced and the refugees.
Access had not been allowed by General Bashir, bombardment is continuing and people are dying from hunger, the rain has started and there is no clear plan to respond to the situation. We appeal and urge the friends of Sudan everywhere to combine their efforts to implement article 4 of the UN Security Council Resolution by contacting the Security Council and by pursuing every possible avenue that will put pressure on General Bashir to agree to the tri-partite proposal and to open access for humanitarian assistance, which is a human right for those who are affected, and failing to allow access is a war crime.
The SPLM-N would like to reiterate its commitment again for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2046 and we indeed submitted our proposal for a roadmap for implementation when we recently met the Chair of the AUHIP, former President Thabo Mbeki, and the Chair of IGAD, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who have been tasked by the Security Council to implement the Resolution. Moreover, we are ready for an immediate cessation of hostilities on humanitarian grounds to create a conducive environment for a humanitarian operation.
Yasir Arman
Secretary General, SPLM-N
June 14, 2012

A Bad Day for the Khartoum Regime

This morning began with the report that Sudanese Minister of Finance Ali Mahmoud told members of the Sudanese parliament that the austerity measures being put in place including the ending of fuel subsidies were a reflection of the “bankruptcy” of the state. With food prices inflating at a rate of 30% and falling currency values along with the real fact that more than 75% of its oil revenues are now gone, the prospects for the future of the Sudanese economy are grim.

The National Consensus Forces (NCF), the major opposition party to Bashir’s National Congress Party (NCP), is organizing protests against the removal of the fuel subsidies and is calling for “regime change.” The NCF was joined by the Popular Congress Party (PCP) in protesting and calling for change. Hassan Al-Turabi, leader of the Popular Congress Party, reportedly said that the recent gathering of the NCF and PCP argued that the “meeting should be the kick-off a campaign to confront the regime which continues to oppress the people, stressing that the current economic crisis affects the rich and poor alike.” Al-Turabi said:

The middle class began to recede after the intensification of poverty and inflation. Therefore the opposition leaders met to plan for the after this regime.

Meanwhile, South Sudan is finalizing a deal to create an oil pipeline through Kenya that will result in a major financial loss, oil transit fees, going forward for Khatoum as well as the securing of South Sudan’s future oil income through a friendly nation.

Finally, the Egyptian military has staged what appears to be a coup d’etat in Egypt, removing the Khartoum regime friendly Muslim Brotherhood from power and suddenly putting a major wrench into Bashir’s attempt to unite the newly Islamist run states of Libya and Egypt with his own regime. The linchpin has suddenly been removed and the scheme is mid-collapse.

At this point, unless the Khartoum regime can negotiate peace with both the South Sudanese and the Sudan Revolutionary Forces, limiting its financial expenses for its war efforts and restoring a full flow of oil, it faces the real possibility of complete collapse in the months ahead.

Kristof: American help needed, warranted — but missing.

Op-Ed Columnist

From Peace Prize to Paralysis

By
Published: June 9, 2012

IN THE NUBA MOUNTAINS, Sudan

Kristof writes :  “This [ the Khartoum regime] is a regime whose leader has been charged with genocide, has destabilized the region, has sponsored brutal proxy warlords like Joseph Kony, has presided over the deaths of more than 2.5 million people in southern Sudan, in Darfur and in the Nuba Mountains — and the Obama administration doesn’t want him overthrown?

In addition, the administration has consistently tried to restrain the rebel force here, led by Abdel Aziz Al-Hilu, a successful commander who has lived in America and projects moderation. The rebels are itching to seize the South Kordofan state capital, Kadugli, but say that Washington is discouraging them. … Abdel Aziz … seemed mystified that American officials try to shield a genocidal government whose army is, he thinks, crumbling.”

“In both Syria and Sudan, the Obama administration seems stuck behind the curve.”

“In Sudan, we should disable the military runways that bombers take off from to attack civilians in the Nuba Mountains, or destroy an Antonov bomber and make clear that we’ll do the same to others if Sudan continues to bomb its people. Then we should support efforts by private aid groups to bring food and seed into the Nuba Mountains, by airdrops in this rainy season when roads are impassible.’

Source:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/10/opinion/sunday/kristof-from-peace-prize-to-paralysis.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

SPLM-N Seeks a Humanitarian Ceasefire

The SPLM-N would like to sign a ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid to reach the people of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Of course, the Khartoum Regime will not agree to this because it has been working hard to create the famine in the first place by bombing civilians working in fields and making it impossible to plant crops. The regime in fact, believes that it can force the SPLM-N to disarm by creating such a horrendous famine that the SPLM-N will lay down its arms in the hope of bringing relief to the people of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Meanwhile, the international community has thus far refused to place enough pressure upon Khartoum to relent and to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered or to work toward sending that aid through South Sudan into the region. Famine and the rainy season are the friends of Khartoum. Those who wish to deliver humanitarian aid to the starving civilians are their enemies.