Sudan Bulletin No. 33
26-08-2005 Operational Update
The heavy rains that have wrought havoc in the three regions of Darfur have resulted in a general slow-down of all activity, and the situation has therefore remained calm. They have also affected the assistance work of humanitarian organizations, as many roads have become difficult and dangerous to travel and relief vehicles have had to plough through flooded riverbeds and swift currents. In the town of Al Fashir alone there was more rain in one day in August than during the whole of 2004.
The ICRC's activities have also been affected by the rainy season. All planned distributions have been carried out, but not without delay. In the rural areas – primarily in North Darfur - where the ICRC has been providing seeds and tools, the local population has taken advantage of the lull to plant fields, and there is real optimism about next year's harvest. Unfortunately, in most of the rural areas badly affected by the conflict the people dare not leave their villages to sow crops. They will remain fully dependant on external assistance in the coming months.
The Raja returnees – a courageous journey
In the past few weeks over 4,000 people have returned to the southern Sudanese province of Raja after spending four years in a makeshift camp for displaced people 400 kilometres away in the Mabia region, close to the border with Uganda. The returning families have spent several months travelling on foot under extremely hazar dous conditions, braving landmines, swamps and dense jungle – during the rainy season, no less. They received some assistance en route from humanitarian organizations, but the groups of returnees now arriving at their destination are weak and exhausted.
Most of the returnees are women and children. The first group left Mabia in April with little food and water but determined to return home. Relief organizations present in southern Sudan starting providing essential items and services shortly thereafter, but found it difficult to reach all the returnees as they split up into different groups travelling in various directions through the harsh terrain. Some 1,300 chose to go through Wau, a southern Sudanese town lying northwest of Rumbek, where health supplies, food and other essential items were immediately distributed to the weary travellers.
Working out of its office in Wau, the ICRC has since provided those leaving Mabia with tarpaulins, kitchen sets, clothing and sandals. After four months, the returnees’ daunting journey is slowly coming to an end, and they are currently receiving assistance in Deim Zubeir, near Raja, where several international organizations are present and monitoring the situation.
In the past four years, the ICRC has delivered Red Cross messages across the front line to enable family members to stay in touch with each other. Between November 2003 and October 2004, it reunited 110 displaced persons from Mabia (96 children and 14 elderly people) with their families in Raja in the first cross-line operation before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed. Its team on the spot stands ready to pursue tracing services for children separated from their families and to provide further assistance as need ed.
A helping hand for the disabled in Darfur
With the financial support of the German Red Cross, the ICRC has launched a programme in Nyala for disabled people in West and North Darfur, a population which previously had little if any access to orthopaedic facilities.
Under the programme, a 12-bed dormitory has been opened in Nyala (South Darfur) to house patients receiving treatment at the centre run by the NAPO (National Authority for Prosthetics and Orthotics). The ICRC transports the patients from their place of residence to Nyala and back; it looks after them during their stay at the centre and is in charge of their physical rehabilitation and of producing their artificial limbs. The ICRC team at the centre also oversees the specialized training being dispensed to the centre's staff.
The dormitory, which is equipped with a kitchen, toilets and shared living areas designed for disabled people, has received 85 patients since opening in June.
ICRC support for the NAPO also comprises training for technicians, the provision of machinery and raw materials for the production of prosthetic and orthotic devices, and management of the technical facilities in Khartoum and five satellite workshops throughout Sudan. In all, the ICRC has provided more than 1,300 prostheses in Sudan since the beginning of the year.
Since the beginning of 2005, the ICRC has carried out the following activities:
supplied water to seven camps for displaced persons and to urban areas, and repaired water networks in three towns (Kutum, Gereida and Al Junaina)
repaired, refurbished or rehabilitated 142 hand pumps, 19 mechanized boreholes, 19 shallow wells and 10 water yards, providing water for roughly 600,000 civilians (displaced persons and residents)
carried out regular distributions of food (19,062 metric tonnes in all) to 300,000 residents of rural areas who have also received seeds and tools
In Sudan as a whole:
rehabilitated and upgraded the infrastructure in five hospitals and 12 primary health clinics
supplied health teams and medicines, held consultations and performed surgery, supported immunization programmes and provided training in four hospitals and 12 primary health clinics
conducted over 160 sessions on international humanitarian law, ICRC activities and the principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement for over 7,200 people, including government officials, members of the armed forces, opposition groups, Arab and other militias and religious and community leaders
distributed 20,000 tarpaulins, 60,000 blankets, 26,000 kilos of soap, 6,500 kitchen sets, 15,000 jerry cans, 37,800 items of clothing (7,800 for women, 15,000 for girls, 15,000 for boys) and 32,000 pairs of sandals (4,000 for women and 28,000 for children) to 200,500 people in all
collected 16,255 Red Cross messages and distribute d 16,227
continued to discuss protection matters systematically and confidentially with all the parties to the conflict, at all levels, in the field and in Khartoum
For further information, please contact:
Paul Conneally, ICRC Khartoum, tel. ++249 9121 70576
Marco Jiménez Rodríguez, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++41 79 217 3217