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Sudan bulletin No. 12 – 17 September 2004

17-09-2004 Operational Update

Latest report on ICRC activities in the field


General situation


Darfur, Zalingei, Hasha-Issa displaced persons camp.©ICRC /Thierry Gassmann/ref. sd-e-00229 

Fighting continued in different areas in Darfur giving rise to casualties and wounded. In Southern Darfur increased incidents of banditry on main roads continued to affect humanitarian organizations, leading to tightened security measures and some reduction of movements. In most areas, however, ICRC and Sudanese Red Crescent (SRCS) teams were able to go ahead with relief distributions as planned, reaching villages and settlements, often a few days drive from the main towns, which had so far received little or no external assistance. Wide-ranging nutrition and livestock assessments were launched, to determine needs in these two fields.

The ICRC's set-up in the field has been rapidly expanded over the past few weeks to cope with the increased volume of relief distributions. The additional trucks, which arrived on the ICR C air bridge from 25 August to 6 September (see bulletins 10 and 11), have been quickly put to use in the field and distributions are taking place at a faster rate. In Northern Darfur alone, preparations are under way for the distribution of 920 tonnes of relief goods in the next three weeks.



Concerted efforts are under way to strengthen the ICRC-SRCS network for restoring family links in Darfur. A new tracing tool, previously used in Kosovo and Angola, is being introduced both in Darfur and in Chad. This means that people who have lost contact with family members will be able to register their names and location on lists, which are then posted in different areas where displaced persons and refugees have gathered and on the ICRC website. The goal is that the separated family members can re-establish contacts through the exchange of Red Cross messages In cases of children and particularly vulnerable individuals, the ICRC and the SRCS actively seek to trace separated family members.

Over the week, large-scale relief distributions were carried out in Garsila and environs (Western Darfur), in Gareida town (Southern Darfur), where the ICRC has now opened an office, and in four villages around Kass (also Southern Darfur). Despite the poor state of the roads, which caused days of delay, a total of 66,000 displaced persons and residents were assisted in these and other locations.

 At the same time, other ICRC-SRCS teams this week covered:  

  • The area between Tabit and Shingil Tobaya on the main Al Fashir-Nyala road, in particular the village of Khazan Tunjur, which has received an increasing number of displaced persons from nearby villages.

  • Rural areas along the main road from Kutum to Chad, visiting places such as Tina, Karnoi, Anabeji and Um Barrow, in order to assess the overall situation of the civilian population and establish contacts with local people, and follow up earlier distributions (in Anabeji, Kurbia and Orshi).

  • Adwah, northwest of Nyala, where it was found that around 5,000 displaced persons were in need of food, medical care, shelter and drinking water.

  • Mesteri area south of Al Geneina, to assess the situation in villages close to the border with Chad. Nearly 8,000 people in ten different villages were identified as needing food and material assistance. Frequent clashes are reported to have taken place here over the past months. Many of the villages in this area are now empty, and the civilian population still feels very insecure.

  • Seleia area and Kulbus, north of Al Geneina, and the environs of Arrow Sharrow camp east of Seleia. Over 26,000 people from nearly 50 villages have been registered as needing assistance. Preparations are under way for two weeks of food distributions around Seleia in the second half of September.

  • Deleij (north of Garsila/Wadi Saleh locality). Preparations are being made for a distribution of basic household items for 10,500 IDPs and residents.



Western Darfur, Garsila. Displaced persons waiting for ICRC relief distribution.©ICRC /Thierry Gassmann/ref. sd-e-00190 



The ICRC continued to call on the parties to restore the protection to which the civilian population is entitled under international humanitarian law.

 Restoring family links  


  • Further steps were taken to build up the ICRC-SRCS tracing network in the field. New tracing volunteers were recruited and local leaders were informed about the ways in which the ICRC and SRCS can help restore links between families separated as a result of the conflict.

  • This week the following areas were covered: Tawilla town, Khazan Tunjur, Mesteri, and Kalma and Ardamata camps for displaced persons. During these trips five separated children were registered and three tracing requests for children were collected. A visit to Mesteri area revealed a large number of unaccompanied children in five villages along the border with Chad, which are now being followed up and registered. 

  • 65 Red Cross messages were received from Sudanese refugee camps in Chad.

  • Contacts were re-established between a separated child registered in Kirindig camp and her father in Sisi camp in Western Darfur, through the exchange of a Red Cross message.


  • From 7-11 September, food was distributed to 3,850 people in four villages around Kass (Brounga, Gemeza, Lagaro and Karende-East). In Karende, more than one third of the population comprises displaced persons, hosted by residents. Despite the poor state of the roads, which slowed work down considerably, 106 tonnes of sorghum, beans, oil and salt were distributed to individual households.

  • ICRC and SRCS teams distributed food to over 8,600 people in Kutum area. Essential household items were distributed to 2,500 people in Kassab camp, also in Northern Darfur.

  • In Gereida in Southern Darfur, the planned round of food distributions proceeded, after having been postponed because of security conditions and the unexpected influx of newly displaced people from surrounding villages. Some 20,000 people were assisted this week, of a total of 48,000 planned beneficiaries.

  • In Western Darfur, 32,000 people were supplied with essential household items (blankets, soap and clothing) in Garsila, seven hours drive south of Zalingei. The beneficiaries came from 68 surrounding villages.

  • The hospital in Kutum admitted 189 patients over the week and performed six operations. The ICRC is currently supporting the setting up of a medical warehouse.

  • A memorandum of understanding was signed with the ministry of health regarding support for Gereida hospital.   This week, an ICRC surgical te am operated on 12 war-wounded. Training was provided for local staff and medical material and drugs were supplied.

  • Following an outbreak of measles among the displaced and resident population of Gareida, an immunization campaign is being initiated, in coordination with the ministry of health.

  • Work continued to improve sanitary conditions in Zalingei hospital, with the construction of showers, latrines and a laundry. Moreover, the outpatient and emergency units, which used to be together, have now been separated, and emergency cases receive free treatment in a special wing.

  • The ICRC continued working in around 30 towns, villages and displaced persons'camps across Darfur to improve water supply and sanitation. In addition to maintenance work in Abushok and Dinka camps near Al Fashir, construction and upgrading projects continued in Shingil Tobaya, Kutum, Kassab, and Kulbus.

  • In Zalingei, where the ICRC is working on the town water network, a previously unserved district housing a large number of disabled people was connected to the network and now receives water free of charge.

  • In Gereida, a pipeline was laid linking the 30,000 IDPs in the camp to the pumping station half a kilometre away, and distribution points were set up.

  • During field trips to Jebel Marra, Mesteri and Seleia areas, ICRC engineering teams provided spare parts and repaired hand pumps, thus restoring water supply for whole clusters of villages and settlements.

 Preventive action and information  


  • A total of 18 hours of dissemination sessions on IHL, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the ICRC were held for 90 members of the police and security forces in Southern Darfur.

 Cooperation with the Sudanese Red Crescent and other Movement partners  

  • SRCS volunteers took part in all ICRC field trips and relief distributions over the week. Dozens of new volunteers were mobilized by the SRCS Zalingei unit in Garsila and surrounding towns during the distribution there.

  • The SRCS organized a two-day logistics workshop in Khartoum, attended by representatives of most of the branches. The ICRC gave a presentation and organized a visit to the logistics centre.

  • The Australian and British Red Cross Societies have deployed the first delegates for the Gereida health/water and sanitation initiatives. The Netherlands and Canadian Red Cross Societies are finalizing their primary health care initiative for Western Darfur. The German Red Cross has flown in a cargo plane of supplies to Al Fashir. 

  • The Spanish Red Cross is coordinating humanitarian activities in Abushok, Fata Borno, Kassab and Zamzam IDP camps in Northern Darfur. It has relaunched a water and sanitation programme with the SRCS in Al Geneina, focusing on the construction of wateryards and hafirs close to Al Geneina town.

  • The Saudi Red Crescent has sent a logistics specialist, an administrator and a pharmacist to Al Geneina, with a view to setting up programmes there, above all in the field of health.

 Since the start of the crisis, the ICRC has:  


  • provided basic household items for 376,530 displaced people in 25 locations across Darfur.

  • delivered food aid to 86,660 people in 26 locations.

  • upgraded and repaired infrastructure in four hospitals with a total capacity of 860 beds, and provided support in the form of drugs, surgical and other medical equipment (ICRC health teams have been posted in two of the hospitals).

  • launched a programme to provide basic health care for over 134,000 people through support for 16 permanent health facilities and four mobile clinics.

  • made arrangements for the daily delivery of an additional 1,800,000 litres of water, above and beyond previously existing resources, to over 200,000 people in 30 locations.

  • designed camp layouts (Abushok, Kassab and Hasha-Issa) for 120,000 displaced people and provided shelter materials to 80,000 people to help them settle in.

  • registered 112 children separated from their families in Darfur and collected tracing requests for 1,748 persons separated from their families related to Darfur, including 744 children.



The ICRC continues to carry out its tracing activities where many refugees are seeking to reestablish contacts with family members in Sudan's Darfur's region and in settlements in eastern Chad. 

In collaboration with the Red Cross of Chad, ICRC delegates have been actively promoting the opening of its family tracing activities in eastern Chad. The tracing offices in the refugee camps of Djabal, Oure Cassoni, Goz Amer and Farshana are now fully operational, while the setting-up of similar offices continues in the camps of Touloum, Indirimi, Mile and Kounoungo. Several hundred refugees have already visited ICRC tracing offices to write and send Red Cross messages to family members.

The ICRC is also closely monitoring the wate r and sanitation needs of the resident population in several areas of eastern Chad.

 For further information please contact:  

 Virginia De La Guardia, ICRC Khartoum, tel. ++249 9 121 377 64  

 for Chad: Yves Heller, ICRC Yaoundé , tel. ++237 222 58 59  

 Ian Piper, Geneva, tel. ++41 22 730 20 63