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Sudan: Assistance for displaced persons in the East

08-04-1998 News Release 98/14

Since the end of January, several thousand people have been displaced by artillery attacks on their villages in the Kassala region of eastern Sudan, along the Eritrean border. At the end of March the number of displaced was estimated at more than 4,750 families, comprising some 24,000 people. The region where they took refuge is particularly arid, offering no possibilities for agricultural activity. It is rendered even more hostile by the presence of landmines hidden in the ground, which are having a devastating effect on the displaced population.

The Sudanese Red Crescent, with support from the ICRC, regularly evacuates people wounded by artillery fire or landmines to the civilian and military hospitals in the towns of Kassala and Khartoum. More than 50 casualties have been treated to date. The hospitals have been given emergency medical assistance and dispensaries have been set up in the sites where the displaced families have settled.

More than 100 Red Crescent volunteers have been mobilized to register the displaced people and to distribute blankets, jerrycans, kitchen sets, mosquito nets and soap. The United Nations World Food Programme is carrying out food distributions, while Oxfam is supplying clean water.

The ICRC has been in Sudan since 1978 and is currently preparing to resume operations in the south of the country, which were suspended in November 1996. Providing support for the Sudanese Red Crescent is one of the ICRC's traditional activities in a country suffering the effects of more than 14 years of conflict.