Nairobi, Kenya, December 02, 2006 --(PR.com
)-- World Vision has temporarily relocated 17 international staff from Malakal and surrounding areas to other locations in Southern Sudan.
The action was taken as a precautionary measure, and reflects similar relocations by other agencies working in the Upper Nile Province. In total, 120 humanitarian staff have left due to conflict in the Upper Nile area.
Fighting broke out in Malakal between Sudan People’s Liberation Army forces and militia operating in Upper Nile on the night of November 23, and became considerably worse between the November 27 and 29. United Nations organizations and humanitarian agencies working in Upper Nile have decided to reduce their presence until the fighting subsides.
“Gun shots were heard from both sides, and people were running from all sides,” said a World Vision staff member who had to take cover during the fighting.
“At one point humanitarian agency staff felt difficulties as the airport was sealed and planes were neither allowed to land nor take off.”
On the night of November 27, humanitarian workers gathered at the United Nations Mission to Southern Sudan offices in Malakal. On November 29, 110 UN and NGO staff were transferred from Malakal to Juba, Rumbek, El Obeid and Loki. UN security staff plan to relocate more agency staff in the next couple of days.
World Vision’s Area Program Manager Chris Imana remains in Malakal as a member of an interagency group monitoring conditions.
The UN reports that most civilians have abandoned their homes and are crossing the Nile to Makal Shilluk, Ogod, Ditang, Lelo and Obuar avoid the fighting. All shops in Malakal town are closed at the moment. Media reports suggest that Dr Riak Machar (Vice President of the South Sudan Government) is planning to meet with the Governor of Upper Nile Province and the leaders of the combatants.
Interview opportunity: To arrange an interview with World Vision staff in Malakal, Sudan, or for more information, please contact Rachel Wolff at 253.815.2072 or 253.394.2214.
Note for editors: World Vision interventions in Southern Sudan include food aid, health, education, water and sanitation, non-food emergency relief, protection, food security and malaria prevention.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit www.worldvision.org/press.