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Sudan: emergency assistance for the most vulnerable in Darfur and Southern Sudan

04-11-2009 Operational Update

The ICRC is deeply shocked by the abduction of its staff member Gauthier Lefèvre in West Darfur on 22 October. It urges his abductors to release him immediately and unconditionally, and remains determined to continue to help Sudan's most vulnerable people. This is an update on ICRC activities in Sudan.

 Major livestock vaccination campaign in North Darfur  

A total of 23 ICRC and MARF vaccinators and technicians travel every day to 12 nomadic villages in the Kutum area and 25 other sites close to water points around Dar Zaghawa to vaccinate camels, sheep, goats and cows. The campaign is expected to go on for the next three months.

The objective is to vaccinate 500,000 animals in North Darfur sustaining approximately 60,000 people before the end of the year. Nomads are reportedly coming from as far as Kabkabiya to have their animals vaccinated. The fact that many of the vaccination sites are on nomadic migration routes facilitates access to this vital service in an area of Darfur that depends on animals to maintain not only income but also the traditional way of life.

 
©ICRC/M. Ungaro/sd-e-02366 
 
A goat being vaccinated near Kutum in Northern Darfur. The objective is to vaccinate 500,000 animals in the area before the end of the year, sustaining approximately 60,000 people. 
  After extensive preparations and several postponements due to inadequate security, the ICRC launched this major animal vaccination campaign in coordination with the Ministry of Animal Health and Fisheries (MARF) at the end of September, targeting nomadic settlements around the Kutum area and the villages of the Dar Zaghawa region in North Darfur.

The ICRC has been training and equipping community animal health workers in cooperation with MARF, improving the availability of quality veterinary drugs in the area, and providing solar-powered refrigerators to improve storage conditions for viral vaccines. Each trained worker received a kit containing the basic equipment and medicines needed to start a small veterinary clinic in his community.

In close cooperation with MARF, the ICRC is providing refresher courses for 205 community animal health workers throughout Darfur in 2009. A further 20 workers will be given three weeks of basic training. Community animal health workers are selected by their own communities on the basis of two main criteria: they need to be pastoralists or agro-pastoralists whose main livelihood is livestock breeding, and they have to come from a remote area.

 Emergency assistance in Korma, North Darfur  

Brief but intense fighting at the end of September around Korma, north-west of Al-Fashir, the capital of North Darfur, made civilians fear for their lives and flee to nearby villages to take temporary shelter with families and friends. When they returned after the fighting had ended, they found that most of their food and belongings had been looted.

“Despite the fear and anxiety still reigning in Korma, the humanitarian situation improved quickly,” said Gregory Brissonneau, an ICRC delegate. “People were able to cope thanks to the solidarity of relatives in v illages not affected by the fighting.”

The ICRC was granted immediate access to provide urgently needed food for nearly 11,000 people from 28 villages in the area and kitchen sets, tarpaulins, blankets, mats, soap and other household essentials for nearly 2,000 people (325 households) who had lost most of their belongings.

 Improving irrigation during the dry season in remote areas of West Darfur  

Community leaders in Fase, a remote town in West Darfur north-east of Zalingi, asked the ICRC to help them buy irrigation pumps for use during the dry season on the understanding that the community would pay back the money gradually.

The ICRC agreed to provide the money, start-up seed, simple agricultural tools and other items. Each pump was to be used by 10 to 12 vulnerable households. Twenty-five per cent of the cost was to be deposited annually in a revolving fund supervised by a pump irrigation project committee. This money would then be used to buy an additional pump to benefit another 12 vulnerable households in the community.

“The result has been excellent so far,” said Jeroen Carrin, an ICRC economic-security delegate in Zalingi. “The Fase people came to the ICRC delegation in June to pay back 25 per cent of the money they had been given. They managed to do it in one dry season, which is better than expected. This proves that the project is working well.”

It is working so well that the ICRC is helping four additional groups of farmers in Abata, each consisting of 12 vulnerable households, to buy four fuel-operated pumps at a total cost of 4,000 US dollars.

Each group of farmers will be given nearly 3.25 hectares of fertile land around wadis (dry river beds) owned by the community to plant onions, tomato es, okra and potatoes. They will also receive basic tools to prepare and maintain the land properly, and fencing materials to protect it from grazing animals. All further costs, such as fuel, oil and maintenance, will be met by the farmers themselves.

 Helping displaced communities in Southern Sudan  

In response to persisting communal clashes in Southern Sudan, especially in the remote parts of Jonglei and Upper Nile states, ICRC staff travelled to Akobo and Pibor, in Jonglei state, and Nasir, in Upper Nile state, to assess needs. The violence has reportedly claimed the lives of at least 1,200 people and left more than 20,000 displaced since the beginning of the year.

The ICRC has stepped in by bringing aid to more than 15,000 people in Akobo and Nasir, where the needs were most acute.

In Akobo, the ICRC distributed maize, sorghum, vegetable seed, tools and fishing kits donated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to 18,000 people (325 households). An ICRC barge carrying 22 metric tonnes of tarpaulins, axes, clothing kits, soap and other basic household items reached Akobo in the second week of September. The items were distributed immediately to help about 9,000 displaced people in Akobo and Denjok.

" Many of these families have lost everything during the fighting and have not been able to go back to their villages, " said Bettina Scholdan, deputy head of the ICRC mission in Southern Sudan, who was in charge of the distribution. " We hope that the items distributed will help them resume their normal lives. The fast-growing vegetable seed will be harvested before the end of the rainy season and provide much-needed food. "

To improve access to clean drinking water, ICRC staff repaired several public water taps and fixed a motorized pump d istributing water to 10 water points around Akobo.

Another barge ferrying ICRC staff and a cargo of seed, fishing tools and other items arrived in Nasir to help displaced families who had lost their belongings during fighting last June.

Meanwhile in Bentiu, Unity state, volunteers from the Sudan Red Crescent emergency action team, who had previously received training from the ICRC, helped local authorities to collect the wounded and dead following a clash in the area.

In coordination with the World Health Organization, the ICRC mission in Juba responded to a request by the Ministry of Health in the south to provide intra-venal fluids. The mission sent 50 litres of normal saline and 50 infusion sets to Bentiu Hospital.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Saleh Dabbakeh, ICRC Khartoum, tel: +249 91 213 77 64 or +249 1 83 476 464  

 Anna Schaaf, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 22 71 or +41 79 217 32 17