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Sudan: Bulletin No. 25 - 28 February 2005

28-02-2005 Operational Update

Latest report on ICRC activities in the field

 General situation  

As in past months, violent clashes continue to be reported on and off in different areas of Darfur. Civilians keep moving away from rural areas, where coping mechanisms are overstretched, further adding to the population of small cities and camps for the displaced that have only limited services and resources.

Since the camps are fairly well served by the humanitarian community, at least for the moment, the ICRC believes that it is important to provide assistance in rural areas. This, coupled with an improvement in the security situation, could alleviate the overall situation by cutting down on the exodus to the cities and camps.  

    

 In 2005 the ICRC plans to distribute 30,000 metric tonnes of food for up to 260,000 needy people. Seed and tools will also be handed out before the beginning of the planting season to some 50,000 households throughout Darfur, especially in rural areas, so as to boost the next harvest.  

    

 ICRC highlights  

    

The Sudanese government and the ICRC signed a memorandum of understanding on 14 February concerning the organization's working procedures and the principles governing the re lease and transfer of persons detained in relation to the armed conflict in southern Sudan.

This followed the signing of a permanent ceasefire agreement between the government and the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement/Army , which requested the ICRC to assist, in its capacity as a neutral intermediary, in the release and transfer of detainees. The ICRC has offered to play this role once both parties have signed the memorandum of understanding.

The ICRC is ready to provide all necessary humanitarian assistance and ensure appropriate logistical support for the transfer of released detainees to their homes, in accordance with its humanitarian mandate. Contact with the families has already been made through Red Cross messages.

 Violations of humanitarian law  

    

ICRC delegates in the field systematically document and follow up violations of international humanitarian law, including abuses of civilians and other non-combatants.

True to its neutral and confidential way of working, the ICRC raises the issue of violations bilaterally with the parties concerned at all levels, in order to prevent the recurrence and mitigate the effects of such practices.

 Darfur livestock under threat  

    

As the dry season approaches, water is increasingly in short supply for both people and livestock, an essential component of the economy in Darfur. To make matters worse, natural water-catchment basins have b een damaged by the conflict, drought and lack of maintenance. To address this urgent situation, the ICRC has:

  • continued its projects to ensure access to safe water in rural areas;

  • started a programme for livestock that involves training 150 community animal-health officers and rehabilitating water catchments in the western region of southern Darfur in order to strengthen economic security in rural areas.

 Workshops for tracing volunteers  

    

Owing to the armed conflict in Sudan, many people have lost contact with their loved ones. To cope with the growing demand for assistance in restoring family links, the ICRC and the Sudanese Red Crescent have expanded their tracing services.

A series of training workshops to be held for ICRC and Sudanese Red Crescent tracing personnel throughout the country was launched this week in Nyala, southern Darfur. In addition, 15 new tracing offices will open in the coming weeks, mainly in camps for the displaced in all three Darfur states.

 In 2004 in Sudan, the ICRC:  

  • supplied essential household items to 525,000 people and fishing equipment to another 10,450;

  • distributed 8,500 tonnes of food to 400,000 people;

  • organized the setting up of three camps for about 90,000 displaced people;

  • upgraded, repaired and expanded five hospitals and three primary-health-care units, which have since treated 370,000 people;

  • provided four hospitals and 12 primary-health-care units with medicines, immunization programmes, training and medical staff to perform consultations and operations;

  • set up, repaired and developed water-supply systems, providing some 200,000 people with two million litres of water per day;

  • collected over 33,800 and delivered more than 35,600 Red Cross messages.

    

 For further information, please contact:  

 Lorena Brander Bastias, ICRC Khartoum, tel.: ++249 9 121 37764  

 Marco Jiménez Rodríguez, ICRC Geneva, tel.: ++41 79 217 3217  

 or visit our website: www.icrc.org