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Sudan: violence threatens civilians in the south

10-03-2010 Operational Update

The ICRC continues to press for the release of staff member Gauthier Lefèvre, abducted in West Darfur in October. Owing to his kidnapping, ICRC activities have been curtailed in Darfur, but elsewhere in Sudan they continue normally.

 Supporting pastoralist communities in Jonglei, Southern Sudan  

Ethnic violence and food insecurity continue to affect thousands of people in Sudan's south. Pastoralist communities in Pibor County are especially hard hit. They primarily depend on livestock for their income, and the death rate among animals has been rising steadily.

The animals – mainly cows – are not only a source of food and milk but are also used for trading. They represent wealth and status for their owners. Livestock prices have decreased significantly. At the worst terms of trade, a cow was worth only one 50-kg bag of sorghum, an extremely low price by any standard.

   
©ICRC/M. Kenyanjui 
 
Jonglei state. An ICRC team preparing to begin a long day of work vaccinating livestock in Pibor county. Animals are immunized against major cattle diseases in the area. 
    The loss of wealth makes it increasingly difficult for pastoralists to meet their families'needs. Drugs to treat sick animals are either prohibitively expensive or unavailable in the local markets. Cattle owners have not had their livestock vaccinated since 2006. In order to alleviate the hardship of both resident and displaced communities it has now become crucial to improve the health of their animals.

Together with Veterinarians Without Borders, the ICRC has launched a campaign to vaccinate 50,000 head of cattle before the onset of rains in April. The campaign is targeting four major cattle diseases, including pneumonia.

Over 30,000 head of cattle in various areas, including in rough and swampy bush around tributaries of the Nile River in Pibor County, have already been vaccinated.

Twenty community animal-health workers attended an ICRC-sponsored course on animal health and have been provided with kits to treat and vaccinate animals. A " cold chain " involving solar refrigerators has been set up to store drugs. The aim is to help at least 5,000 pastoralist families.

 Assisting vulnerable families in Western Equatoria  

In February, the ICRC and the Sudanese Red Crescent distributed food to more than 2,500 internally displaced people (IDPs) in the regions of Bariguna and Bariabande, in Western Equatoria. The same people had already been given household items such as blankets, kitchen utensils and clothing. They were forced to flee their homes in recent months when armed groups attacked their villages. In their search for security and shelter, they left most of their personal belongings behind. Many resident families who have taken them in also received help.

   
©ICRC/M. Kenyanjui 
 
Jonglei state, Sudan. A team of vaccinators immunizing a cow near a swamp in Pibor county. 
     Clean water for displaced people and the host community in Akobo  

The nearly 20,000 displaced people in Akobo continue to live in deplorable conditions. Limited water resources leave most people with no choice but to draw water directly from the Pibor River and thus expose themselves to health hazards.

In order to help both the displaced people and their host community in this conflict-prone area, the ICRC has decided to improve the water supply system of Akobo town. Six new boreholes will be drilled and each of them will be equipped with a solar pumping system capable of supplying 50 cubic metres of water every day.

" Once the boreholes have been completed and the pumps installed, 7.5 litres of water pe r day will be available to each person in Akobo, " explained Geert de Vries, an ICRC water and sanitation expert. " That is enough for basic survival, hygiene and cooking. We will start drilling in mid-March and finish the project by the end of September. "

The displaced people now in Akobo were driven from their homes in April 2009 by communal clashes in Nyandit, Denjok and Alale in Jonglei State, Southern Sudan. The ICRC had already given them food, seed and household essentials.

 Cooperation agreement between the ICRC and the Sudanese Red Crescent  

    

A cooperation agreement for 2010 between the Sudanese Red Crescent and the ICRC was signed in Khartoum on 11 January. Its main purpose is to clarify the roles and responsibilities of both partners and to identify projects of common interest, for example in the areas of emergency preparedness and response, restoring family links and water and sanitation. The ICRC will also provide technical and financial assistance as well as training for Red Crescent personnel, and contribute to programme monitoring.

The Sudanese Red Crescent has branches in 23 of the 25 states in the country and plans to extend its presence to all states by 2011.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Saleh Dabbakeh, ICRC Khartoum, tel: +249 1 83 476464 / 65 / 66 or +249 912 137 764  

 Nicole Engelbrecht, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 22 71 or +41 79 217 32 17