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Sudan: ICRC prolongs support for 130,000 displaced in South Darfur

19-05-2008 News Release 08/83

Khartoum / Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is prolonging until the end of the year its operation to help some 130,000 people at the Gereida camp, one of the biggest facilities for displaced people in Darfur.

The ICRC has been the main humanitarian agency at the camp since a security incident in December 2006 forced almost all other organizations to leave.

Since the end of last year, an additional 9,000 people have arrived at Gereida. Most had fled their homes because of fighting, lawlessness and insufficient access to drinking water, basic health care and other services.

The ICRC is providing the camp's population with food, shelter materials, household items, clean water, sanitation, and health and nutritional care. In addition, ICRC delegates are helping the displaced to contact family members with whom they have lost touch, and are collecting allegations of violations of international humanitarian law in order to discuss them in a confidential dialogue with the parties concerned. To finance its operations at Gereida camp, the ICRC is asking donors for an additional 20 million Swiss francs, bringing its estimated 2008 budget for Sudan to 126 million francs (over 121 million US dollars).

" We initially planned to hand over relief work at Gereida to other aid agencies by July 2008 " , said Daniel Duvillard, head of ICRC operations for the Horn of Africa. " Our aim is to increase our focus on helping vulnerable people in remote rural communities in Darfur. However, our discussions with various organizations interested in working in the camp have not yet produced a final agreement. "

The ICRC has n early 320 staff at Gereida, working alongside Sudanese Red Crescent volunteers. Both the British and Australian Red Cross are supporting the ICRC's feeding centre at the camp.

The additional funds will also cover through to the end of 2008 the cost of deploying a field surgical team in Darfur and elsewhere in Sudan to treat wounded people who have no access to medical care.

Sudan is now the ICRC's largest operation worldwide. As one of the few humanitarian organizations working outside urban centres and camps for the displaced in Darfur, the ICRC focuses on providing aid and protection for more than half a million people living in rural villages and among nomadic communities.

For further information, please contact:
  Saleh Dabbakeh, ICRC Khartoum, tel: + 249 91 213 77 64
  Anna Schaaf, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 217 32 17