UN relief chief in East Africa amid emergency aid measures

UN relief chief Martin Griffiths. REUTERS/Ali Khara

UN relief chief Martin Griffiths. REUTERS/Ali Khara

Published May 1, 2023


UN relief chief Martin Griffiths is in East Africa after his boss Antonio Guterres sent him to monitor relief efforts in Sudan to help thousands of people in distress.

Griffiths said on Monday he was already in Nairobi, Kenya, where he was meeting with a number of representatives from different stakeholders.

Guterres said the deterioration of the situation in Sudan has led to his decision to send the UN Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Co-ordinator, Griffiths, to the region.

“The scale and speed of what is happening in Sudan is unprecedented in the country. In light of the rapid humanitarian crisis, I am sending UN Relief Chief to the region immediately,” said Guterres.

The UN has been trying to bring humanitarian aid to Sudan as people remain trapped in their homes due to fighting.

Griffiths said the conditions on the ground remained difficult for people.

He said thousands of people have already fled to neighbouring countries including Chad, Egypt, Libya and the Central African Republic.

Guterres announced on Sunday that he was sending Griffiths to the region to ensure relief supplies were delivered to the people in Sudan.

“At the request of the United Nations Secretary-General, I am on my way to the region to explore how we can bring immediate relief to the millions of people whose lives have turned upside down overnight,” said Griffiths.

He said they were also concerned that some of their warehouses in Sudan have been looted.

This made it more difficult for the delivery of whatever was available.

But some of the supplies were in Port Sudan and the UN relief chief was waiting for the authorities to clear the delivery of these supplies.

“The United Nations and our partners are doing our best to reboot the humanitarian response in the country. Massive looting of the offices and warehouses of humanitarian organisations has depleted most of our supplies. We are exploring urgent ways to bring in and distribute additional supplies.

“A shipment with five containers of intravenous fluids and other emergency supplies is docked in Port Sudan, awaiting clearance by the authorities,” said Griffiths.

He said people had run out of essential supplies in Khartoum and other parts of Sudan.

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