Sudan: ICRC cash assistance in South Kordofan gives Abdullah hope to see again

15 March 2018
Sudan: ICRC cash assistance in South Kordofan gives Abdullah hope to see again
With ICRC's cash assistance, Abdullah will travel to Khartoum where an eye specialist said that a simple procedure will restore his eyesight. CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC

''Somebody hold my hand,'' shouted Abdullah, a 23 year old internally displaced person (IDP), as he roamed through his village in South Kordofan, amidst the sound of gunshots and the smell of smoke, pleading for somebody to help him flee to safety.

Abdullah could sense innocent people around him running, yet he did not know in which direction to go. ''I just sat down on the floor and kept my head low,'' he said. Being blind was new to Abdullah and he still hadn't gotten used to the feeling of total darkness and isolation that comes with being unable to see.

A university graduate, Abdullah had taken leave from his job at an organization in South Sudan to visit his family across the border in Sudan, when his life unexpectedly turned upside down. An armed group had launched an attack on his family's village leaving many people with urgent humanitarian needs and separating many families.

''Never, even in my wildest dreams, had I imagined that one day I would myself become an IDP,'' Abdullah said as tears ran down his cheeks. ''A good woman, Hawa took me into her hut and she has been taking care of me since that day.''

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in partnership with the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS), implemented Cash Transfer Projects for 6,230 newly arrived IDPs in Kadugli and Dallami in South Kordofan, to cover their most urgent humanitarian needs.

With the cash assistance, Abdullah will travel to Khartoum where an eye specialist said that a simple procedure will restore Abdullah's eyesight. He also plans to work hard so that he can repay the elderly Hawa for her kindness.

The ICRC assistance activities will gradually increase in partnership with the SRCS and relevant authorities. The ICRC resumed its field assistance work after suspending field operations in Darfur in 2015 because of limited access.

The ICRC hopes in the future to cross lines of control and directly assist all civilians suffering from conflict and violence, in all areas.

The ICRC assistance in Sudan planned for 2018 includes the distribution of seeds, and tools to help internally displaced communities and host communities to grow their own food. Food or cash will be distributed to help those families meet their urgent needs. The ICRC teams will also continue to help loved ones separated by armed conflict and violence to relocate their families.