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Sudan bulletin No. 7 - 13 August 2004

13-08-2004 Operational Update

Latest report on ICRC activities in the field

 DARFUR  

    

 Humanitarian situation  

    

Fighting in Western Darfur and south of Nyala continues. It is reported to have resulted in large numbers of casualties. The fighting is provoking further displacement of people and illnesses.

The main illnesses affecting the displaced population are diarrhoea, malaria and acute respiratory infections. There is a generalized lack of appropriate hygienic conditions and a shortage of medical supplies. For those living in rural areas, access to health care is extremely limited because of the long distances required to travel and a lack of outreach services.

At the clinic run by the ICRC in Abshok camp the most recurrent diagnoses are malaria (20%) – including several complicated cases requiring intravenous treatment – and respiratory infections (13%) – including some cases needing intravenous therapy and observation.

The ICRC is responding to the situation by bringing aid to the displaced people and the war-wounded, and by providing material assistance for health-care facilities.

 ICRC highlights of the week  

Staple foodstuffs and household items were distributed to 5,000 people in villages in rural areas of Northern Darfur. Preparations were made to deliver material relief to over 50,000 people in Kabkabiya town next week. In Southern Darfur, food was provided for over 7,000 people in Gereida camp for displaced persons and Gereida hospital.

A basic health-care programme was launched in Seleya, north of Al Geneina (Western Darfur), similar to that set up in Abshok camp, El Fasher, two weeks ago.

A four-day assessment was conducted in Garsila town in Western Darfur to determine protection and assistance needs. The ICRC is making urgent plans to cover shelter needs (mainly by providing tarpaulins and blankets) in five main locations (Garsila, Um Kheir, Bindizi, Mokhjer and Deleij) in the coming weeks.

A five-day assessment was completed in the area south of Al Geneina, reaching as far as Arara and covering Mesteri, Kongo Haraza and Beida, in which protection and assistance needs were identified.

 Since the start of the crisis, the ICRC has:  

  • provided basic household items for 294,000 displaced people in 17 different locations;

  • delivered food aid to over 40,000 people in 10 different locations;

  • upgraded and repaired infrastructure in four hospitals with a total capacity of 860 beds, and provided support in the form of drugs, surgical and other medical equipment; two of the hospitals are also backed up with ICRC health teams;

  • launched a basic health-care programme aimed at assisting over 134,000 people;

  • made arrangements for the daily delivery of 1,200,000 litres of water to over 150,000 people in 30 different locations (camps and towns);

  • designed camp layouts (in Abshok and Kassab) for 100,000 displaced persons; arranged for transportation for 80,000 of the displaced to reach the camps, and provided shelter materials to help them settle in;

  • registered a total of 90 children separated from their families and taken steps to trace some 1,400 people; collected 59 and distributed 132 Red Cross messages.

 ICRC ACTIVITIES  

    

 Protection  

    

The ICRC seizes every opportunity to remind the parties to the conflict of their obligation to guarantee the protection of the civilian population in accordance with international humanitarian law. It stresses that any return of displaced persons to their homes or relocation to other sites must take place on a fully voluntary basis, and should neither be forced nor induced by promises of humanitarian assistance. The safety of displaced persons and returnees must be guaranteed.

 Restoring family links  

  •  

  • ICRC delegates from Sudan, Chad and the organization's headquarters in Geneva met in Khartoum to discuss the harmonization of family reunification activities on both sides of the border.

  • The ICRC has so far registered 90 children separated from their families in Darfur and collected 1,390 tracing requests.

    

 Assistance  

  • The ICRC distributed food to over 7,300 people in Gareida camp and to some 80 people in Gareida hospital. In total, 93 tonnes of sorghum, 30 tonnes of pulses, 18,500 litres of oil and one tonne of salt were provided.

  • A nutritional assessment conducted in Gareida camp revealed the presence of a number of cases of severe malnutrition among children, seemingly aggravated by untreated illnesses. The ICRC referred the children to Gareida hospital for treatment.

  • Essential household items and 51 tonnes of food were distributed to 4,900 people affected by the conflict in five villages in the countryside around Tawila (west of El Fasher, Northern Darfur) and three villages between Kutum and Um Baru.

  • Material relief was provided for 5,200 people in Abshok camp who had received no aid since the authorities relocated them to the camp a month ago.

  • To reduce pressure on the overcrowded town centre in Zalingei, the authorities have facilitated the transport of persons to the main camps outside town (Hamidia and Haisha Issa), which now house a total of 60,000 people. The ICRC has laid out an additional area for 6,000 people so far, in an extension to Haisha Issa camp, with the support of the Sudanese Red Crescent and students from the town.

  • Staff at Gareida hospital reported a lack of drugs and supplies for the free treatment of displaced persons, including many children. The ICRC distributed drugs and medical supplies to treat the displaced persons and the resident community. Plans for providing a full range of support for Gareida health-care facilities, including water supplies and a mobile health unit to serve outlying areas, are being finalized.

  • Support continued for Zalingei hospital. Repairs to the operating theatre and female and maternity wards have nearly been completed.

  • A basic health-care programme was launched in Seleya, north of Al Geneina, since existing services were no longer coping with the influx of displaced persons in and around the town. The support will consist of repairs to the clinic building, supplies of drugs and equipment, and training of staff.

  • Numerous repairs were made to the buildings at the ICRC-run basic health clinic in Abshok camp in Northern Darfur, where over 1,750 patients, including 343 children, have so far been treated. The observation wing has been expanded to accommodate 20 patients.

  • Construction and repair work on water and sanitation installations in the ICRC-supported Kutum hospital was completed.

  • An agreement was signed with the water board concerning upgrading of a large borehole supplying Zalingei, which will provide up to an additional 200,000 litres a day for residents and displaced persons.

  • Work continued to construct and upgrade wells and water-supply systems in all three Darfur provinces, improving access to water for 150,000 people in towns and camps. Work to improve facilities, repairs to hand pumps, and the installation of small storage and distribution devices have begun in a number of villages where between 10,000 and 20,000 residents and displaced people are living together in areas north of Al Geneina, near Zalingei, and west of El Fasher.

 COOPERATION WITHIN THE RED CROSS / RED CRESCENT MOVEMENT  

 Sudanese Red Crescent  

  • Sudanese Red Crescent volunteers took part in all relief distributions and assessment trips carried out over the week and in tracing activities.

  • The ICRC continued to support the Sudanese Red Crescent by providing training and financial backing for its national disaster response team and by supplying vehicles for its field work.

 Other National Societies  

  • The Saudi Arabian Red Crescent Society visited Sudan and Darfur and delivered aid. It showed an interest in the Movement's cooperation mechanism already in place.

  • The Australian, British, Canadian and Netherlands Red Cross Societies visited Darfur to identify areas of cooperation within the Movement's response to the crisis either by contributing to existing ICRC programmes or by carrying out stand-alone projects.

  • A second consignment of relief from the Red Crescent Society for United Arab Emirates was airlifted to El Fasher, where it was received by the Sudanese Red Crescent and the ICRC.

 EASTERN CHAD  

 Humanitarian situation  

The French military presence, intended to provide logistical support for activities of humanitarian organizations in the region, has been reinforced in the border area.

After the incidents reported a few weeks ago, the situation in camps at Farchana and Bredjing appears to have stabilized. However, in the past few days tension seems to have been mounting between the local population and refugees in areas near the camps.

The ICRC has completed a preliminary evaluation of economic security in villages around the Oure-Cassoni, Toulum and Bamina camps. It seems that corridors and pastures have already been prepared for the resumption of the seasonal movement of livestock. Millet seeds were sewn around 15 to 20 days ago in the areas of Tiné and Bahaï, but it cannot be determined when the harvest will take place owing to the rarity of the rains in th e region.

 ICRC ACTIVITIES  

 Protection  

The ICRC has visited 41 people in various detention places throughout the region.

 Restoring family links  

  • Work continues on the installation of antennas to be used for tracing activities. All necessary equipment has arrived and the facilities should be operational in September. The inhabitants of nine refugee camps will benefit from the tracing services.

  • SECADEV, a Catholic non-governmental organization, identified 74 children who have lost their parents in the camps of Farshana, Kounougou and Toulom, and forwarded the information to the ICRC.

 Water and habitat  

Assessments were carried out in the towns of Iriba, Tiné and Bahaï to determine the condition of the existing water infrastructure and the water needs of the resident population.

 Information  

The ICRC continues to provide information on its activities – in particular, about its tracing services – for refugees, the local authorities and other humanitarian organizations.

 For further information please contact:  

 Carlo Piccinini, ICRC Khartoum, tel. ++249 9 121 377 64  

 for Chad: Yves Heller, ICRC Yaoundé , tel. ++237 222 58 59  

 Marco Jiménez Rodríguez, Geneva, tel. ++41 22 730 22 71