Proposal for continuation of VSF-Belgium Fight Against Lineage One Rinderpest Virus Project for Southern Sudan, March to October 2004.
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The last foci of lineage 1 rinderpest virus in Africa is believed to lie in the southern region of Sudan. The cattle populations in the border areas of southern Sudan move across international borders for pasture and trade. Identification and elimination of any remaining endemic areas in southern Sudan is therefore crucial for rinderpest eradication from the east and central Africa regions. Much progress has been made towards this during 2002-3 in the first two years of the Fight Against Lineage 1 Rinderpest Virus Project This project aims to concentrate surveillance activities in the higher risk areas of southern Sudan in order to identify and eliminate the remaining foci and contribute to the final eradication of lineage one rinderpest virus from Africa. Southern Sudan has a long history of underdevelopment and conflict. Since independence was granted to Sudan in 1956 there has been civil war between south and north, apart from a period of peace between 1972 and 1983. Millions of people, mainly civilians, have been killed, displaced or are refugees. Southern Sudan is controlled partly by the Government and partly by rebel groups. The prolonged conflict has created what is described as a chronic, complex emergency; development has been prevented, infrastructure has been destroyed, trade and transport routes have been disrupted, schools and health services are almost nonexistent, and administrative structures are minimal and have few resources. The effects of a series of droughts and floods have been exacerbated by the conflict, causing periodic famines. Internationally mediated peace talks are currently proving successful and there is great hope that a peace agreement will be signed in early 2004. Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) is a consortium of United Nations (UN) agencies and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) that is providing humanitarian assistance to the waraffected communities of southern Sudan. OLS activities include assistance for food relief, water, human health, education, fisheries, crop production, animal health and others. OLS southern sector (OLS-SS) operates in the areas of southern Sudan that are controlled by rebel groups, and gains access to these areas via Kenya and Uganda. The largest rebel group of southern Sudan is the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), which forms the de facto government in the areas under its control. Other smaller rebel groups control parts of Upper Nile and Jonglei regions. The relief sections of these movements, SRRC (Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission), and FRRA (Fashoda Relief and Rehabilitation Association) are the counterparts of the southern sector livestock programme. OLS northern sector (OLS-NS) works in the areas of southern Sudan that are under the control of the Government. The Government, specifically the Department of Animal Health. and Epizootic Disease Control (AHEADC), which includes PACE Sudan, is the counterpart of the northern sector livestock programme.