Khartoum to the rescue as famine ravages South Sudan

Friday March 17 2017

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. PHOTO | FILE

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. PHOTO | FILE |  AFP

By JOSEPH ODUHA

Sudan has donated 15 metric tonnes of food and medical supplies to its neighbour South Sudan.

Sudanese Health minister Someia Idris told the media on arrival at the Juba International Airport on Friday that Khartoum was concerned about the suffering of the people in South Sudan.

The South Sudan humanitarian crisis has been occasioned by raging war between the forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those allied to his former deputy Riek Machar.

Ethnic dimension

The war has largely taken an ethnic dimension, pitting President Kiir's Dinka community against Dr Machar's Nuer group.

Other rebel groups have emerged, intent on dislodging President Kiir from power.

Ms Idris said the assistance by Khartoum was meant to help the famine worst-hit camps in the young nation, adding that more assistance would follow.

Border corridors

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir recently ordered the opening of border corridors to allow the movement of humanitarian agencies to rescue the famine-stricken South Sudan populations.

Ms Idris described good relations between the two countries as vital.

“We are all brothers and sisters and we share a long and eternal relationship in God’s will.

"We in Sudan will continue our support to our brothers in South Sudan,” she stressed.

Frosty relations

Aid agencies declared last month that over 100,000 people were facing starvation in South Sudan, with another five million at risk of severe food insecurity.

Ms Idris was received by her South Sudan counterpart Dr Riek Gai Kok.

The two countries have endured frosty relations since 2011 South Sudan secession, with each accusing the other of supporting cross-border insurgency.