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Sudan: Bulletin No. 28 – 11 May 2005

11-05-2005 Operational Update No 28

Latest report on ICRC activities in the field

 General Situation  

    

 African Union  

The African Union (AU) announced in late April that it would more than triple the size of its peacekeeping force in Darfur. The AU's Peace and Security Council approved plans to boost the force from 2,200 to 7,700 people, including troops, civilian police and military observers.

The AU expects the new contingent to be in place by the end of September 2005, possibly with additional troop contributions from Kenya, Nigeria and Rwanda.

Currently, the AU's mandate allows the organization to monitor the cease-fire agreement signed by the government of Sudan and the rebel groups more than a year ago. As has been reported, however, it cannot be ruled out that the AU may also have to take steps to deter violence.

In order to increase awareness of ICRC humanitarian work among the peacekeeping troops, ICRC delegates regularly conduct information sessions on international humanitarian law and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. These sessions are held both in Darfur and in the African countries providing forces for the operation.

 Implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement  

On 23 April it was announced that both the government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Arm y (SPLM/A) had appointed their delegates to the National Constitutional Review Commission (NCRC) and that an agreement had been reached on how the 60 seats would be shared out. The NCRC was officially inaugurated on 30 April, in an event attended by over 500 officials, SPLM/A leaders and foreign diplomats, but boycotted by major political parties based in Khartoum.

 Oslo conference  

Representatives of more than 60 countries and international organizations met in Oslo in mid-April, showing broad international support for the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed by the government of Sudan and the SPLM/A in Nairobi on 9 January 2005.

The international community pledged $4.5 billion to rebuild southern Sudan over the period 2005-2007. Of this, approximately $2 billion was earmarked for development assistance in response to the joint needs assessment carried out by the United Nations, the World Bank and representatives of the government of Sudan and the SPLM/A.

Several contributors, among them the United States and the European Commission, confirmed their willingness to provide funds, subject to the effective implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the evolution of the situation in Darfur.

The ICRC took part in the meeting as an observer, sending senior staff members based in Sudan and in Geneva.

    

 ICRC field surgical unit  

On 10 April an ICRC field surgical unit – a fast-response mobile clinic providing surgical care for war-wounded patients in difficult-to-reach areas – started its operations in Darfur. The unit's first test was in Dar es Salam, south of Al Fashir in northern Darfur, where the four-member team (comprising a sur geon, an anaesthetist, an operating theatre nurse and a surgical ward nurse) carried out an impressive 36 surgical operations and assisted 41 out-patients in eight days.

Working out of southern Darfur's regional capital, Nyala, which is also the logistical hub for ICRC operations in Darfur, the field surgical unit can be rapidly deployed throughout the region as needed, depending on security conditions. Although the unit's priority concern is weapon-wounded people, assistance will also be provided for people living in remote rural areas where it can be dangerous or difficult, if not impossible, to travel to health facilities.

 Food distributions stepped up in Darfur  

The ICRC has decided to increase the size and scope of its food aid operation in Darfur until the end of the year, when further assessments will be made. Owing to the prevailing insecurity and restrictions in movement, considered by the ICRC to be the root cause of reduced food stocks and the depopulation of rural areas, the organization will increase food assistance by some 8,000 tonnes from now until December. Around 320,000 persons per month – or 100,000 more than initially planned – will benefit from this aid. The ICRC will remain focused on assisting those most in need in remote rural areas.

    

 Supporting polio eradication  

Since the beginning of 2005, the ICRC's various primary health clinics have managed to immunize more than 99,000 children under five years of age against poliomyelitis. In all, 78,654 c hildren were immunized in Darfur (Seleia, Zalingei, Kutum and Gereida) and 20,432 in southern Sudan (Yirol and Chelkou).

The first case of the polio outbreak in Sudan was detected in May 2004. Since then, health organizations have registered cases in 17 of the 26 states of the country. The Sudanese health authorities have intensified the national immunization campaign and the ICRC has provided its support, particularly in conflict-affected regions.

    

 Protecting the civilian population  

ICRC delegates deployed on the field systematically detect and document abuses and other problems affecting civilians and other non-combatants. The organization makes confidential approaches to the parties concerned with a view to preventing their reoccurrence and minimizing their impact. Moreover, the ICRC's food aid, health, and water and sanitation programmes are designed to improve the protection and security of beneficiaries, especially in remote rural areas.

 Sudan is the ICRC's largest operation worldwide. Some 2,000 national staff and 200 expatriates, roughly half of whom are based in Darfur, are working for the ICRC throughout the country.  

    

 Since the beginning of 2005, the ICRC has carried out the following activities:  

    

 In Darfur:  

  • Supplied water to six camps for displaced persons

  • Supplied water to urban areas and repaired water networks in three towns (Kutum, Gereida and Al Jeneina)

  • Repaired 110 hand pumps serving 110,000 people, thereby reducing the need to travel to unsafe areas

  • Repaired and equipped seven boreholes serving up to 155,000 people

  • Distributed 4,707 tonnes of food to 328,684 people

    

 In Sudan as a whole:  

  • Rehabilitated and upgraded infrastructure in five hospitals and 12 primary health clinics

  • Supported four hospitals and 12 primary health clinics, providing health teams, drugs, consultations and surgery, plus expanded programmes of immunization and training

  • Conducted 45 sessions dealing with international humanitarian law, ICRC activities and the principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement for over 2,330 people including government officials, members of the armed forces, opposition groups, Arab and other militias and religious and community leaders

  • Collected 7,749 Red Cross messages and distributed 8,053

    

 For further information, please contact:  

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

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