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Sudan bulletin No. 11 – 8 September 2004

08-09-2004 Operational Update

Latest report on ICRC activities in the field

 General situation  

 

Western Darfur, Garsila. Distribution of basic household items. ©ICRC /Thierry Gassmann/ref. sd-e-00041 
 

Continued clashes, in particular in rural areas of Northern and Southern Darfur, gave rise to further casualties and displacement of civilians. It is estimated that the number of displaced persons in Gereida, south of Nyala, has increased from 12,000 to 32,000 since mid-August, while a recent influx of people in towns east of Nyala is reportedly leading to serious food shortages. Around 1,800 new arrivals have been reported at Zamzam camp near Al Fashir. Meanwhile, in other areas tensions began to ease, and the situation in the major towns was seen to be calm, enabling humanitarian organizations to go about their work of meeting the needs of the population. Diarrhoea, acute respiratory diseases and malaria are still the main illnesses among displaced people coming to ICRC-supported health facilities for treatment.

 ICRC highlights  

    

The ICRC continued to deal with the large volume of supplies needed to support the growin g relief operation in Darfur, targeting in particular remoter, rural areas that have not yet received external assistance. By 6 September, the ICRC air bridge, launched on 25 August to deliver aid supplies and logistics equipment for operations in Sudan, had been completed. (See bulletin 10). An average of five convoys are now setting off from Khartoum each week on the 1,500 kilometre journey to take the trucks themselves, loaded with beans, sorghum, blankets, tarpaulins, kitchen sets and other supplies, to Darfur, where they are vitally needed to improve access and increase assistance for thousands of people still deprived of urgently need humanitarian aid.

This week, distributions of food and material assistance went ahead in rural areas in all three provinces of Darfur, with the support of Sudanese Red Crescent (SRCS) volunteers. After a delay of a few days because of the security situation to the south of Al Fashir, staple foodstuffs were distributed to families affected by the conflict in Shangil Tobaya. Meanwhile, in Western Darfur distribution of basic household items went ahead in Garsila, which is around 70 km south of Zalingei, while over 20,000 people were registered for relief distributions in Seleia, some 60 kilometres north of Al Geneina. An ICRC-SRCS convoy of 23 trucks loaded with food arrived after a four-day trip across 120 kilometres of very difficult terrain   from Nyala to Gereida, in Southern Darfur, which has seen a large influx of newly displaced families from surrounding villages. The food, which was originally intended for the villages, is now being distributed in Gereida town.

Receding rains meant that an ICRC and SRCS team was finally able to reach Abata, a small town north of Zalingei, last visited in July and which it has repeatedly been trying to return to since then. The needs of th e resident and displaced population were assessed in preparation for future relief distributions, and medical supplies were provided to the health dispensary, which has just opened.

 ICRC ACTIVITIES  

    

 Protection  

    

The ICRC continued to call on the parties to the conflict to restore the protection to which the civilian population is entitled under international humanitarian law.

 Restoring family links  

    

  • 17 unaccompanied children were registered throughout Darfur and tracing requests were collected for 17 other children.

  • Red Cross messages were collected from and delivered to Sudanese refugees in Chad.

 Assistance  

    

  • Medical material including a WHO basic kit, malaria kit and dressing kit was provided to the health dispensary in Abata, north of Zalingei, which opened on 1 September, with the presence o f a trained nurse from the ministry of health.

  • The primary health centre in Terej (south of Zalingei), which recently reopened with ICRC support, has dealt with some 1,000 patients during the first two weeks of operation, including around 550 displaced persons living in Terej itself.

  • Around 1,000 patients received free medical care in the ICRC-supported Zalingei hospital this week. 22 surgical operations were carried out. The ICRC surgical team from Zalingei was sent to Al Gereida hospital to assist in the treatment of around 10 weapon-wounded patients who required surgery.

  • ICRC support for health facilities in Al Gereida was formalized with the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the health ministry. Activities will centre on the provision of primary health care to the IDP and host community and ad hoc support for the hospital.

  • The hospital in Kutum treated 23 inpatients and 220 outpatients and performed 12 operations. Construction of the medical warehouse was completed. Assessments were held in rural areas north of Kutum, where the ICRC is planning to provide basic health care.

  • Work to enhance water supply and sanitation conditions continued in around 20 towns, villages and displaced persons'camps. This week, in Shangil Tobaya, construction work progressed and equipment was installed to improve the water distribution system from an existing borehole. In Gereida the ICRC started to deliver water to camps to the east of the town. Similarly, in Zalingei, a pumping station is being built to provide water to Hamedia camp. The construction of pit latrines was completed for the extension of Hasha-Issa camp outside Zalingei.

  • Food distribution went ahead in the area of Shangil Tobaya, where 750 people in Omlaota and Kalmena received food rations made up of sorghum, pulses, oil and salt. Some basic household items were also distributed.

  • Preparations were made to distribute assistance to the north of Kutum, for the Arab settlements ( damrats ) and for Kassab camp in Northern Darfur. In Southern Darfur, the ICRC and SRCS registered over 7,500 residents and displaced persons in need of assistance in 7 villages around Kass. Meanwhile, an ICRC convoy of 23 trucks loaded with food for 15,000 people arrived in Gereida, which has recently seen an influx of displaced people from surrounding areas, and distributions are now under way. The number of displaced families in Gereida has risen to over 5,000.

  • In the Seleia area of Western Darfur, some 23,400 people were registered as needing assistance. Relief distributions are now under way.

  • Basic household items are being distributed to over 30,000 beneficiaries in Garsila, south of Zalingei, with the support of SRCS volunteers.

 Preventive action and information  

    

  • Dissemination sessions on international humanitarian law, the ICRC and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement were held for various publics, including 25 imams in Al Geneina and 75 SRCS volunteers in Zalingei.

 Cooperation with the Sudanese Red Crescent and other Movement partners  

    

  • SRCS branches around the country are continuing to deploy staff in Darfur. The ICRC is supporting the SRCS in this by providing logistical and financial backing. It is also stepping up logistical and financial support for SRCS tracing volunteers working in the camps.

  • The Australian and British Red Cross Societies continued developing a joint initiative to support health and water activities in Southern Darfur.

  • Discussions were conducted with the Netherlands and Canadian Red Cross Societies regarding possible support for public health care programmes in Western Darfur.

  • The German Red Cross continued to provide basic health care services to over 1,700 displaced persons and affected residents in Al Fashir each week, through their clinics in Guba and in Abushok camp.

  • The ICRC worked with the Saudi Red Crescent, particularly on their new project in Western Darfur, and provided some logistical support.

  • The various components of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement present in Nyala (the SRCS, the ICRC, the Spanish Red Cross and the Saudi Red Crescent) have started holding weekly meetings to exchange information and coordinate activities. Similar meetings, covering the situation in the whole of Darfur, are held each week in Khartoum with the additional participation of the Netherlands Red Cross, the German Red Cross and the International Federation.

 Since the start of the crisis, the ICRC has:  

  • provided basic household items for 342,030 displaced people in 24 locations across Darfur.

  • delivered food aid to 54,210 people in 20 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 (ICRC health teams have been posted in two of the hospitals).

  • launched a programme to provide basic health care for over 134,000 people through support for 16 permanent health facilities and four mobile clinics.

  • supported Nyala orthopaedic centre, which has manufactured and delivered 74 prosthesis for 72 patients and 27 orthoses for 22 patients since it opened in May 2004;

  • made arrangeme nts for the daily delivery of an additional 1,300,000 litres of water, above and beyond previously existing resources, for over 180,000 people in 30 locations.

  • designed camp layouts (Abushok, Kassab and Hasha-Issa) for 120,000 displaced people and provided shelter materials to 80,000 people to help them settle in.

  • registered 107 children separated from their families in Darfur and collected tracing requests for 1,748 missing persons related to Darfur, including 727 children.

    

 EASTERN CHAD  

    

Tracing offices have been set up in the camps at Kounoungou, Mile and Tulum. The office in Farshana camp is now operational. A total of 21 Red Cross messages were received and 13 forms completed. In Farshana camp a four-day training session was held to improve the efficiency of staff. Eight information sessions on the tracing service were held in the camps for some 1,000 people and two information sessions on ICRC activities were held for humanitarian agencies and NGOs active in eastern Chad.

    

 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  

 Ian Piper, Geneva, tel. ++41 22 730 20 63