Fighting which began in June has forced thousands to flee from the Western Upper Nile into Bahr el Ghazal. “They have been forced to walk for at least three days and it is estimated that up to 50 per cent of the displaced are children,” spokesman Fred Eckhard reported.The UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator, Kenzo Oshima, voiced “serious concern” over the plight of civilians caught up in the clashes. “We urge both sides to allow humanitarian access to those in need,” he said. “Both sides should ensure that their armed forces make every effort to protect civilians.”Mr. Oshima also expressed concern regarding the impact of the heavy fighting on civilians which has taken place around Torit in southeastern Sudan. Operation Lifeline Sudan – a consortium of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) as well as more than 35 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) – is targeting some 3 million people in need of humanitarian aid in southern Sudan.