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EU offers flood assistance to Sudan

  |   Aug. 20, 2013 at 10:21 AM
BRUSSELS, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- The European Commission said Tuesday it was mobilizing assistance to help meet the needs of the thousands of people affected by massive flooding in Sudan.

The European Commission said it estimates at least 147,000 people in Sudan were affected by severe flooding in recent weeks. The commission said more than half of the people suffering live in the central state of Khartoum.

European Commissioner for Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva said the European community has provided more than $100 million in assistance to Sudan since last year. Most funding involves support for training humanitarian workers and establishing stockpiles of emergency supplies.

"I am confident that the government of Sudan will rapidly allow humanitarian organizations to access the affected areas," she said in a statement Tuesday. "It is crucial that assessments can be carried out urgently to understand the level and type of assistance required."

Georgieva made no mention of security and human rights concerns in Sudan.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said this month it was forced to scale back its operations in strife-torn Darfur because work permits for 20 of its staff members were not renewed.

The U.S. State Department said the decision raised serious concerns about Khartoum's commitment to peace, adding the incident was "particularly unfortunate."

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