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Sudan: Rehabilitation work continues in Yirol

26-10-2000 News Release 00/41

Two years ago, the population of many parts of southern Sudan was ravaged by famine, and humanitarian organizations were struggling to curb high mortality rates among the hundreds of thousands of displaced people living there. Though the situation has now improved, conditions remain difficult and aid work is continuing, with the ICRC concentrating on increasing water supplies and running disease-prevention programmes.

In Yirol, in Western Equatoria state, and in much of the surrounding area ICRC delegates have sunk or repaired some 40 wells to improve people's access to water. Vaccination campaigns, against tetanus and yellow fever in particular, are conducted day-in, day-out and have now reached most villages in the area. Announcements are made over loudspeakers several hours ahead of time in order to gather the villagers together.

Pregnant women receive special care to ensure that they give birth in the best possible hygiene conditions and to reduce the neonatal mortality rate. A clinic with a dozen beds has been built at the site of Yirol's original hospital, which was partially destroyed in a bombing raid. Wounded and sick people judged too seriously ill to be treated in Yirol are flown out to the ICRC hospital in Lokichokio, Kenya.

Hygiene is an especially important factor and awareness-raising courses are organized for the local population. These sessions, which always attract large numbers of people, are held in both the area controlled by the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement/Army and the zone under government control.