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ICRC steps up aid to displaced people in Darfur

22-03-2007 News Release 07/34

Geneva (ICRC) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is approaching international donors to cover an increase of 32 million Swiss francs in its budget for Darfur.

© ICRC / J. Barry / sd-e-01536 
19.08.2006. ICRC food distribution in Gereida camp. 
© ICRC / J. Barry / sd-e-01534 
18.08.2006. A mother and her baby at the ICRC nutritional feeding centre in Gereida. 
© ICRC / J. Barry / sd-e-01532 
17.07.2006. Gereida. ICRC nutrition monitor Abdullah Maki makes a daily round to check up on the nutritional status of children under five. 

The move comes in response to the urgent needs of the residents of Gereida camp. The extension will boost to 105 million francs the overall ICRC budget for Sudan in 2007, which was already the ICRC's largest in the world.

All over Darfur, poor security conditions are seriously limiting the delivery of sorely needed humanitarian aid. A serious security incident in Gereida in December forced the majority of non-governmental organizations working there to leave the area. " Over 120 thousand people are stranded in the camp, in urgent need of food, water, health care, sanitation and waste disposal, " says Jacques de Maio, head of ICRC operations in the Horn of Africa. " The ICRC is the only organization left with the means to come to their aid. It's a humanitarian imperative. "

The ICRC has taken action to ensure that camp residents have adequate food, hygiene and safe water. Feeding centers for under- and malnourished children will be run in partnership with the British Red Cross and Australian Red Cross.

Only exceptional circumstances have prompted the ICRC to take over these activities vital to the health and welfare of the camp residents. The fact that it is now doing so does not mean that the organization has changed its strategy in Darfur of concentrating on the rural population, which continues to be affected by the ongoing conflict. Entire communities are threatened by looting, restrictions on their freedom of movement and lack of access to basic medical care and veterinary services. Helping them maintain a dignified existence with some measure of economic sustainability serves, among other things, to prevent further displacement t o urban centres and camps.

The ICRC has been present in Sudan for the past 29 years, and today has over 160 expatriates and over 1,900 locally recruited staff working in various regions of the country.

  For further information, please contact:
  Jessica Barry, ICRC Khartoum, tel: +249 9121 70576
  Anna Schaaf, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 217 3217