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Sudan bulletin No. 3 - 16 July 2004

16-07-2004 Operational Update

Latest report on ICRC activities in the field

 DARFUR  

 

Darfur. Displaced children.©ICRC//Pierre Abensur / ref.sd-n-00221-08 
The situation in Darfur continues to give cause for grave concern. The increasing vulnerability of the population is directly linked to the ongoing hostilities and the livelihood of millions of people is at stake. The onset of the rains and the approaching planting season have highlighted the plight of displaced people. In some areas individuals have returned home to till the land, leaving their families behind because of concerns about security.

 Humanitarian response  

    

Over the past week the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Sudanese Red Crescent (SRC) have sent out teams to assess people’s needs in areas not yet visited.

ICRC delegates are trying to respond to the demands created by new displacements of people from rural areas southeast of Nyala, which are placing an additional burden on existing camps. Organization in the camps and drinking water supplies in particular need to be improved. Recent flooding has also exacerbated health risks.

In Zalingei, in western Darfur, internally displaced people have slowly started moving from the overcrowded town to outlying camps. If security conditions improve, people should be more willing to move.

The health programme was given a boost with the airlifting to Kutum and Zalingei of medical equipment provided by the Danish and Norwegian Red Cross Societies, together with staff ready to install it. Other partners, namely the German and Spanish Red Cross Societies, are also contributing to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s response.

The ICRC has started to enter areas until now inaccessible owing to security or logistical constraints. These areas are of major concern to the ICRC, which hopes to provide urgent assistance to people who have not yet received any sort of humanitarian aid.

Nearly 80 ICRC delegates and 315 local staff are currently working for the Darfur operation.

    

 PROTECTION  

    

The ICRC is continuing to remind all parties to the conflict, at all levels, of their obligations under international humanitarian law and to encourage them to ensure the protection of displaced and resident civilians and the wounded and the sick.

    

 ASSISTANCE  

    

  • ICRC and SRC teams distributed 1,390 kits containing plastic sheeting, blankets, soap and jerrycans in camps in Kass town, southern Darfur, and evaluated needs in 11 surrounding villages.

  • Surveys were conducted to the west of El Fasher in Tawilla, Kebkabiya and nine villages in the Jebel Si region (around 5,000 people), where the displaced were found to be living with host families and in schools or disused buildings.

  • Further assessments were carried out in Seleia and Kulbus and a number of smaller settlements in western Darfur, as well as east of Zalingei, in Nertitie, where first-hand information was gathered from the authorities and the population.

 HEALTH  

    

  • Over the past week, the ICRC-supported hospital of El Fasher has treated 64 surgical cases, 70 medical cases and 315 outpatients, including 86 children. Beds and mattresses have been donated to the children's ward to cope with new admissions. The German Red Cross has continued to run the basic health care unit.

  • Over the past two weeks, an ICRC surgeon and anaesthetist, working together with local surgeons, have operated on 27 war-wounded patients at Nyala hospital.

A memorandum of understanding was concluded with the Ministry of Health regarding Kutum hospital, which has not been functioning for some months and has practically no equipment. The hospital is to receive the same support as Zalingei hospital in western Darfur, where construction work is well under way on the outpatient department, pharmacy and laundry.

At the end of the week, medical equipment provided by the Danish and Norwegian Red Cross Societies for the ICRC health programme in Kutum and Zalingei (a generator, an autoclave, beds and operating-theatre tables) were airlifted to Darfur. Medical staff from the two National Societies was also incorporated into the ICRC health team.

 WATER AND HABITAT  

    

  • In Kebkabiya, construction work on wells continued in a number of locations: the hospital, the eastern and northern parts of town and Ahatti village. New sites for wells were identified in the west of town and the central wadi, and digging has now begun.

  • In Abshok camp, progress was made in laying out a new area for displaced persons.

  • In Kutum, wells were deepened in Wadi Kassab, near Kassab camp, and in Kambout village. A new well is being dug for Kassab camp.

  • The Spanish Red Cross made progress in building latrines in Kass, in southern Darfur. Assessments are under way to determine how best to improve conditions at Kalma camp outside Nyala. The main problems are lack of sanitation and access to water.

  • In Al Geneina, in western Darfur, the water situation is under control for the time being. The SRC has finished digging a new well in Ardamata camp with support from the ICRC.

  • In Zalingei, the Spanish Red Cross completed the construction of 25 latrines in the camps.

 RESTORING FAMILY LINKS  

    

  • During the field trips to Tawilla and Kabkabiya in northern Darfur, the ICRC followed up cases of previously registered unaccompanied children and registered a new child. A dozen tracing requests for children were collected, mainly in Tawilla. Lists of registered children and children sought by their parents were posted at th e local SRC offices.

  • An additional 15 children separated from their families were registered in Kass. Lists of registered children and children being sought by their parents were posted at the ICRC office in Nyala and on SRC premises in Nyala and Kass.

  • The ICRC is currently training teachers and tracing volunteers in camps for internally displaced persons.

  • The ICRC has also started to involve a local radio station in tracing activities.

 COOPERATION WITHIN THE SUDANESE Red CrESCENT   

    

  • Staff and volunteers from the three SRC branches in Darfur worked side by side with ICRC teams to carry out assessments, count displaced persons, distribute relief items and run the tracing service.

  • Given the demands on SRC staff in northern Darfur, the ICRC began supporting a recruitment drive.

    

 EASTERN CHAD  

Insecurity in Darfur has forced a growing number of Sudanese to cross the border into Chad. UNHCR estimates that approximately 122,000 refugees now live in eight organized camps in eastern Chad and more are expected to arrive.

In response to the situation, the ICRC recently set up a sub-delegation in Abéché (eastern Chad). The following activities are under way:

  • A family tracing service involving the installation of ICRC antennas in the camps of Kounoungo, Touloum, Goz Amer and Farshana. 

  • A Red Cross message system that will enable these refugees to communicate with their families in Darfur. Forty volunteers from the Red Cross of Chad (RCC) are currently being trained to support the ICRC's tracing antennas.

  • A centralized database in N'Djamena.

  • Information activities for RCC volunteers and personnel in Abéché, Goz Amer, Adré, Guéréda, Tiné and Iriba.

  • Cooperation with the RCC to evaluate the most urgent needs.

 For further information please direct calls to:  

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

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

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