Yomif Worku currently works for the American Friends Service Committee as a project management consultant of the Horn of Africa Program.
His research interests focus on humanitarian assistance and coordination, human rights, monitoring and evaluation, disaster management, civil society and local governance and emergency assistance. His recent research includes Effective Communication in Humanitarian Action.
With the escalation of the Sudan crisis, the humanitarian situation in Sudan is deteriorating. According to the UN’s report, nearly 7 children an hour are killed or injured, indiscriminate attacks against civilians and sexual violence are becoming severe, and healthcare services are rapidly falling. The fighting is gradually evolving into a complete disaster. To address these issues, the Center conducted an exclusive interview with expert Yomif Worku on the impact of the escalation of the Sudan crisis to get his answers on how to protect and settle displaced persons and refugees and how to carry out effective humanitarian relief operations.
Accessible Solutions to Humanitarian Disasters
After the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the humanitarian responses in Africa mainly East of Africa become shrunk, but the humanitarian need across the region become escalated due to conflict, climate change, Market inflation, political polarities etc. This increases the vulnerability of communities and decreases local production. It is also convoyed by political tension across the border’s areas like Sudan-Ethiopia, Sudan-South Sudan etc. Internally East Africans are affected; Countries like Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan have internal conflict utmost.
To revert this in general and the current Sudan case in particular; special attention to the region and this respective country in different is important in my perspective. The most significant are information analysis/coordination (Humanitarian situation analysis), current humanitarian response scenarios screening (aid coverages), and access assessment (hard to reach areas) is important. Simultaneously; pushing global donors, potential NGOs, and other influencers like human rights agencies to react on aid delivery and human protection respectively is important from the global corner as the local actors are less in reaching the population in crisis and offer lifesaving after all. The ongoing conflict further depletes the local resources and increases the tendencies of vulnerability if not attended to well from now.
Negotiation by itself is Not the major solution, in my experiences and understanding; high-level negotiation may bring temporary solutions, but advocating for durable solutions like tying communities economically, socially, etc through advancing development nexus and socialization and bringing overall intervention local or localization is very vital. The localized durable solution may need huge investment and persistence but localization but it likely may bring sustainable local development which may bring peace after all and the democratization of systems.
From experiences and my witness across borders prior: IDPs vulnerability doubled as mentioned by somebody either agencies or the government counterparts, mainly due to access constraints like roads to offer aid, local securities also become main obstacle to freely travel for assistance facilitation in mainly remotest locations like the border localities. There are locations far from access and hard-to-reach areas which need a huge investment to involve and protect peoples from further vulnerability and harassment. Through, working with border countries like Ethiopia, South Sudan and others and empowering local government on facilitation of access to aid and settlement places, can minimize further vulnerability and protect IDPs/refugees. This may be true if the local government is fully involved actually and voluntarily. Since the humanitarian protocols by itself may hinder humanitarian or UN agencies from arriving on time and involved in support acting through local systems is vital. For instance, the Sudan IDPs enter Ethiopia across Matama border but the Ethiopian current Economic and Political courses across the location is not fully safe and need further commissioning from UN agencies and actors like UNHCR office in Ethiopia to be in place and mobilize systems to address gaps.
What’s more, South Sudan by itself is not a country having sustainable peace and thousands of South Sudanese are still in Ethiopia in Gambella region, and supporting South Sudan internally and increasing protection for Sudanese refugees is important. To do this aid agencies like the UN aid wing and global donors like EU, GIZ, World Bank, USAID, and others attention is hugely important.
Contact: Ye Jiewen
Interview: Ye Jiewen
Editor: Ye Jiewen