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Sudan: Emergency aid for civilians around Haskanita

02-11-2007 News Release 07/110

Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has distributed relief supplies to 5,560 people who fled their homes to the countryside and villages around Haskanita, North Darfur, following the clashes that took place on 29-30 September.

An ICRC team of 37 staff with 13 trucks has just returned from the Haskanita area, where they spent 10 days assessing the situation and meeting the essential short-term needs of 1,112 families who have lost their homes and all personal belongings.

The ICRC distributed lentils, sorghum, oil, sugar and salt to the most vulnerable people concerned, and provided emergency household items such as sleeping mats, blankets, jerrycans, kitchen sets, tarpaulins, clothing and some urgent medical supplies. ICRC engineers also replaced essential parts and equipment needed to put five water yards back into operation that supply drinking water for 15,000 persons, both residents and displaced people.

" This distribution is the first aid these dispossessed families have received since they had to leave Haskanita a month ago, " said Daniel Muñoz-Rojas, an ICRC field delegate. " Many of them had no shelter and were living under trees. The operation also benefits the host communities, who have been supporting the displaced people for a month now. "

The ICRC is able to carry out such missions thanks to contacts with all parties in Darfur, since they can facilitate the organization's neutral and independent humanitarian action. The commitment of the Sudanese authorities and the relevant Darfur opposition groups guaranteed the ICRC safe access and ensured that the operation proceeded smoothly.

The ICRC is present throughout Darfur. Working out of eight offices, it focuses on the needs of the rural population. The organization monitors respect for international humanitarian law and reminds all the warring parties of their obligation to respect civilians and civilian property. It endeavours to trace and reunite people separated from their loved ones by the conflict, provides access to water and health care, and helps people restore or maintain their livelihoods. When emergency needs arise, it strives to meet them.

For further information, please contact:
  Cecilia Goin, ICRC Khartoum, tel. +249 912 13 77 64
  Anna Schaaf, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 79 217 32 17