Sudan – ICRC Bulletin No. 45 / 2006
12-09-2006 Operational Update
Latest report on ICRC activities in the field
The security situation has been gradually deteriorating since the beginning of the year and has become even more precarious over the past couple of months.
ICRC activities in and around Jebel Marra are currently on hold following the abduction and tragic loss of one of its staff members in mid-August.
Access to other parts of Darfur has been sporadic. Nevertheless, ICRC activities are continuing where conditions allow. Careful monitoring of developments and flexible work practices have enabled ICRC protection, assistance, medical and other programmes to proceed in all three Darfur states wherever the situation has remained relatively calm.
The ICRC does not accept escorts and obtains security guarantees from all parties before each field trip.
Consequences of the violence
Villagers are at risk not only of being attacked but also of losing their livelihoods. Both these dangers can be causes of displacement.
Many people in rural areas are facing hardship as a result of blocked migration routes, lack of access to markets and health-care services, and insufficient water for both humans and animals in places where large quantities of livestock congregate.
This is the planting season, but many farmers’ lack of access to their fields could make them unable to sustain the ir livelihoods in the months ahead.
Displaced people who would like to go home to plant their crops are prevented from doing so by the poor security situation.
If the security situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences in humanitarian terms for the civilian population could be disastrous.
To ease the plight of the civilian population, the ICRC maintains confidential dialogue with all parties at all levels to remind them of their obligation under international humanitarian law to see to it that civilians are protected.
ICRC delegates monitor violations of international humanitarian law and make confidential reports to the parties concerned to remind them of their obligation to spare the civilian population.
The dispersal of families as a result of the conflict is a major concern. The ICRC helps family members who have been separated by the violence to communicate with each other by means of Red Cross messages and organizes family reunifications.
With Sudanese Red Crescent support, the ICRC traces missing family members.
The ICRC continues to provide assistance for residents and the displaced in rural areas. By enabling people to sustain their livelihoods it helps to ward off further displacement.
The ICRC is providing seed and tools for communities still able to work their fields and basic household items for the displaced.
The ICRC is also restoring water supplies.
ICRC veterinary programmes are promoting self-sufficiency through the training of para-veterinarians.
The ICRC is providing rural heal th-care clinics with medical supplies and supporting Sudanese Ministry of Health immunization campaigns in North, West and South Darfur.
The ICRC has a four-member field surgical team based in Nyala in South Darfur, which can be deployed within hours to conflict-affected areas. The team is available to treat wounded soldiers or fighters from all sides, on the sole basis of need, in areas where there are no medical facilities.
In camps for displaced people in Gereida the ICRC runs a nutrition programme with the British and Australian Red Cross Societies and provides primary health care.
In August the ICRC:
collected 1,842 and distributed 1,484 Red Cross messages;
processed 2,721 requests to trace family members who had gone missing (666 of the requests concerned missing children);
reunited a child who had taken refuge in Chad with his family in Darfur;
provided water for 14,000 displaced people in South and North Darfur;
installed 24 hand pumps, dug two shallow wells and upgraded a water yard in various parts of Darfur;
deployed its field surgical team six times to various places in North and South Darfur, where it performed 32 operations;
distributed 3,833 tonnes of food to nearly 280,000 people, staple seed to nearly 40,000 people, cash-crop seed to over 57,000 people and essential household items to nearly 10,000 people in North, South and West Darfur;
continued to remind the parties to the conflict of their obligation to spare the civilian population and ensure that aid workers have safe access to those in need.
For further information, please contact:
Jessica Barry, ICRC Khartoum, tel: +249 9121 70576
Marco Jiménez Rodríguez, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 217 3217