A new report on the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in the Sudanese state of South Kordofan, estimates that 80% of households are living on one meal a day, with girls particularly facing “critical” levels of malnutrition. The report by an anonymous NGO (the Government of Sudan is still blocking aid efforts in South Kordofan), vetted by experts at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and published by Enough is the first independent international humanitarian assessment of conditions in South Kordofan since fighting began there in June 2011.
This is a dramatic deterioration even from the dire conditions United to End Genocide recorded in interviews with refugees in a report in July. While there is some hope that the end of the rainy season and beginning of the harvest season will bring relief in the form of crops and wild fruits to improve coping capabilities, expectations must be moderated as planting was limited by violence and as it is likely that the dry season will bring increased government attacks.
This latest report comes at the same time as Nuba Reports, a group of citizen journalists operating in South Kordofan, released new video evidence in conjunction with a Satellite Sentinel Project report showing attacks by Sudanese security forces and allied militias on villages and the interrogation of a boy at gunpoint.
The timing of these new reports is important with the next report of the African Union High Implementation Panel for Sudan expected next week. This report will inform the next recommendations and steps of the African Union and the UN Security Council in turn. Though it will likely focus mainly on the recent agreements between Sudan and South Sudan, the question of humanitarian access will certainly have to be discussed.
For the time being, despite agreements with the Tripartite partners (UN, African Union, League of Arab States) at the beginning of August, that access has not been realized. Original deadlines have come and gone and the time for consequences and alternative means for providing aid is long past. The question now is whether the African Union and UN Security Council will remain true to the actions they “strongly urge[d]” months ago?