(Press Release): The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS)
met on Thursday to officially sign a contract agreement for a newly funded 800,000 Euro Project aiming to enhance the “Provision of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Services to Vulnerable Communities in East Sudan - Kassala State.”
The one year Project aims to address the severe need for water services and waste management in Kassala State, East Sudan. The continued underdevelopment of the overall Eastern Sudan region has contributed to the scarcity of water resources and limited infrastructure, conditions that have not only severely affected the livelihoods of the communities in the area, but have placed further pressure on the already scarce resources available to the communities. Therefore, the overall objective of the proposed intervention is to provide sustainable access to water infrastructures and waste collection management systems in Kassala Town and Khashm El Girba Town, accompanied with tailored assistance in state-level and community capacity building to strengthen future management of said objectives and enhance the project’s sustainability.
East Sudan is essentially the leeway route to Europe as it is situated on the Eastern African Migratory Route, through which migrants pass to reach the south of Egypt and Libya before attempting to cross the Mediterranean, a situation that is further exacerbating the current pressures and lack of infrastructures present.
The Project will be implemented in close partnership and coordination with the Government of Sudan’s Water Environmental Sanitation for Kassala State and State Water Corporation as well as national partners for community sensitization on water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion activities.
The Italian Ambassador to Sudan, Mr. Fabrizio Lobasso,highlighted that“Italy has always had a prominent relationship with IOM, therefore we consider this project a small but yet a significant step for the joint work that lays ahead of us. We are already involved in the Khashm El Girbaregion in Kassala State to help refugees and are able to achieve results, thanks to the work of IOM and all these years of cooperation between us.”
Mr. Mario Lito Malanca, IOM Sudan Chief of Mission, expressed his appreciation of this new agreement and stated that “This agreement with the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation is a continuation of years of partnership that has served to improve the lives of migrant and host communities across Sudan. IOM has been managing to address migration from different perspectives and this specific project is innovative, sensitive and responding to the fast growing challenge of migration that the East is facing”.
On the other hand, 1,750 refugees residing in Sudan have been resettled to Canada with the support of IOM Sudan so far this year, reaching 50% of Canada’s Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship commitment to resettle of 3,500 refugees residing in Sudan in this fiscal year ending 31 March 2017.
Canada is among the five countries agreeing to accept referrals from UNHCR as part of the international effort to secure durable solutions to the refugee situation in Sudan through resettlement to a third country. Over 98% of the refugees resettling from Sudan to Canada are Eritreans, while the remainder are Ethiopians.
“In August alone, more than 430 refugees entered Canada on commercial flights all the way from Sudan, which represents the highest reached in a month’s workload so far. We value very much the excellent partnership between many agencies including the Canadian embassies in Khartoum, Cairo and Rome, UNHCR, and the resettlement-related agencies in the Government of Sudan.” said Mr. Mario Lito Malanca, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Sudan.
Canada’s Multiyear Resettlement Commitment is overseen by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and supported by IOM, UNHCR and other implementing partners. IOM provides resettlement services including pre-departure medical examinations and treatment, cultural orientation abroad and transport from Sudan to final destinations in Canada.
Mr. Salah Bendaoud, Head of Mission at the Embassy of Canada in Khartoum, noted that “As a nation, we have welcomed generations of newcomers who have helped build a prosperous society rich in diversity and its mosaic of cultures. We value the positive partnership with IOM and UNHCR as well as the assistance from the Government of Sudan to help a group of refugees to reach their new destination: Canada.”
Among those resettled, Jardose and Sanait's family [pictured right] look forward to their new life in Canada and have expressed their excitement in securing a good education for their two daughters.
Since 2005, IOM Sudan has helped over 20, 000 non-Sudanese refugees to resettle in 19 different destinations including North America, Europe, and the Pacific, over 41% of whom have so far been resettled in Canada. Sudan has continued to host migrants, among whom are people who have been refugees for over four decades. There is a total of 508, 000 refugees in Sudan according to the 2016 Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan. Over 126,000 (25%) of those are registered in Eastern Sudan, which has the largest refugee camp in Sudan, and their main country of origin is Eritrea.
In Sudan, the Government of Canada currently supports various IOM programming areas including refugee resettlement operations; Emergency Preparedness and Response; as well as supporting food security and livelihood improvement initiatives in communities affected by population mobility.