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Sudan – ICRC Bulletin No. 46 / 2006

13-10-2006 Operational Update

Latest report on ICRC activities in the field

  GENERAL SITUATION
  Growing lack of security  

The security situation remained precarious in many parts of Darfur throughout September, with fighting escalating in the north and increased tensions in the south that erupted into clashes around Gereida and Muhajaria at the end of the month.

The upsurge in fighting will have grave consequences if people living in the affected areas are made destitute by having to flee their villages or are unable to access fields, markets or basic services. They will then add to the estimated two million people already displaced within Sudan.

It is imperative that all those involved in the fighting spare the lives and livelihoods of the civilian population and generally protect them from harm.

ICRC activities in the wider Jebel Marra area remain suspended owing to the security incident in mid-August in which an ICRC driver was killed. To date, it has not been possible to obtain sufficient guarantees of safe passage to allow travel there to resume. An investigation into the incident is still under way. Field travel in other areas is continuing wherever feasible.

    

 
Livelihood of rural people  

The growing lack of security and limits on the ICRC's acces s to much of Darfur is making it more difficult for the organization to accurately assess the situation of communities living in remote villages and areas cut off by the recent escalation in fighting.

Of great concern is what will happen to rural people if they are unable to harvest their crops this year because of the fighting or to carry out the traditional income-generating activities on which their welfare depends.

In addition, with pastoralists'traditional migration routes blocked by fighting or by front lines, large numbers of animals are congregating in places where there is insufficient fodder. Whereas in the past herders took care to ensure that their livestock avoided crossing cultivated land, they now have little choice but to graze their animals wherever they can find something to eat, including farmers'fields. This can create conflict.

In areas where there is active fighting and people are fleeing to the hills or other remote areas to avoid attack, it is growing ever harder for aid agencies to reach them.

 

ICRC RESPONSE  

In and around Gereida  

Fighting broke out on 29 September near Gereida and has continued intermittently. The ICRC repeatedly reminded the warring parties of their obligation under international humanitarian law to treat wounded and captured persons humanely and to prevent the civilian population from being harmed.

From the onset of the fighting there have been allegations of violations of international humanitarian law. The ICRC has made confidential representations to the parties concerned, appealing for an end to any violations.

On the first day of fighting, almost all expatriate st aff of non-governmental organizations present in Gereida were evacuated to Nyala together with a sizeable number of those organizations'locally hired staff. ICRC personnel in Gereida were virtually alone in staying on. On the first day of fighting they were unable to go to the camp for displaced people outside the town but resumed work there at the primary health-care clinic and supplementary and therapeutic feeding centres the following day.

During their absence, the ICRC took over the work of other aid agencies, providing medical treatment, supplying water and making essential repairs to water pumps and other equipment in the camp.

 
Surgical team  

The ICRC's field surgical team was deployed once to North Darfur in September, to an area where there was fighting and no other medical facilities were available. The team carried out 25 operations. It was also went to Gereida during the first week of October to take care of eight wound victims.

 
In southern Sudan  

Following tension and armed clashes between the Sudanese People's Liberation Army and the Sudan Alliance Forces in the New Fanjak area west of Malakal in late August and early September, the ICRC aided 27 wounded persons, evacuating one seriously ill civilian by boat to Malakal hospital. Delegates also delivered dressing materials to the local clinic.

The ICRC facilitated the return home to Wau, Kuajok, Torit and the wider Juba area of 35 patients from the Juba limb-fitting and rehabilitation workshop during September. Since the ICRC's limb-fitting and rehabilitation facili ty in Lokichokio in neighbouring Kenya closed, patients have been attending the ICRC-supported clinic in Juba.

Five Sudanese trainee limb-fitting technicians have been sponsored by the ICRC to go to Tanzania for a three-year training programme. Five others are being likewise sponsored for one year.

 
Between January and September 2006 the ICRC in Sudan did the following:
  Tracing throughout Sudan  
  • reunited 36 families, 25 of them in Darfur, four in southern Sudan and seven elsewhere
  • registered 32 unaccompanied/separated children
  • 197 cases of unaccompanied/separated children were being dealt with at the end of the above-mentioned period
  • received 131 new tracing requests throughout Sudan (the number of tracing requests currently being dealt with is 2,533, of which 613 are for children, while 811 tracing requests have been positively resolved since the beginning of 2006)
  • collected 16,887 Red Cross messages (brief, personal messages to relatives made otherwise unreachable by conflict), 192 of which were collected from detainees and 120 from children
  • delivered 19,003 Red Cross messages, 129 of which were for detainees and 110 for children
  •  
    Aid in Darfur  
  • distributed over 19,000 tonnes of food to a monthly average of 177,000 people
  • distributed essential household items to just under 22,500 households
  • distributed staple seeds, tools and donkey ploughs to 23,700 households
  • distributed cash crop seeds and tools to 25,000 households
  • vaccinated 151,105 animals in North and South Darfur
  • gave a measure of veterinary training to 70 new animal-health workers from North, West and South Darfur and issued them with veterinary kits
  • gave refresher training to 36 animal-health workers previously trained in 2005
  •   Water  
  • repaired 296 hand pumps
  • dug or cleaned 60 shallow wells
  • carried out repairs in 29 "water yards" (closely spaced wells sunk to maximize the water supply)
  • until July, regularly supplied drinking water to 99,000 internally displaced people in four camps (Thereafter, responsibility for the water supply in Kassab and Abu Shock camps was handed over to UNICEF. The ICRC continues to support Oxfam by supplying water in Gereida and continues to do water-supply work in Hamadia camp in Zalingei.)
  •   Care at Juba Teaching Hospital (southern Sudan)  
  • 4,349 operations
  • 16,096 outpatient consultations
  • 5,979 paediatric consultations
  • 4,150 other consultations
  •  
    For further information, please contact:
      Jessica Barry, ICRC Khartoum, tel. +249 9121 70576
      Marco Yuri Jiménez Rodríguez, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 79 217 3217