The ICRC is increasing its food aid in Darfur by 25 per cent for the remainder of 2005. The decision was taken following three straight years of insecurity across the region that have prevented whole communities – resident, nomad and displaced – from cultivating their land, travelling to market or following migration routes with their livestock.
The plight of these communities is becoming increasingly desperate as the traditional " hunger season " between harvests nears its peak, and they have few or no food reserves.
- delivered 7,720 tonnes of food in Darfur to a total of 330,000 rural residents and IDPs in 328 locations
- provided essential household items in Darfur to 79,937 people (18,325 IDPs in 3 camps and 61,612 residents in 114 locations)
in the south, provided 2,800 people with essential household items
- set up, repaired and/or upgraded water systems and points in Darfur, providing clean water daily to more than 320,000 people (200,000 IDPs in camps and 120,000 residents in 72 locations)
- supported 8 health-care facilities in Darfur, which carried out 30,000 curative consultations (including over 13,000 for women), 1,300 ante- and post-natal consultations, and 71,000 immunizations
- collected 9,177 Red Cross messages and distributed 7,290 throughout Sudan
- supported 9 physical rehabilitation centres and smaller workshops throughout Sudan; 427 prostheses (including 33 for mine victims), 405 orthoses and 545 pairs of crutches delivered for Sudanese patients; 173 new patients fitted with prostheses and 198 with orthoses
Many humanitarian organizations are now working in Darfur, providing a lifeline to hundreds of thousands of displaced people crowded into camps and urban centres. However, large areas of rural Darfur have still not received any assistance; the inhospitable terrain and continuing insecurity make access for aid convoys difficult and often dangerous.
Reaching out to remote areas
The ICRC is one of only a handful of organizations concerned with assistance and protection needs in remote and rural areas. To be able to work, ICRC staff maintain a dialogue with all parties on the ground to ensure the safety of the operations and the acceptance of the humanitarian mission.
An ICRC rapid-response mobile surgical unit, which can cross front lines to treat the wounded and sick, has been set up; this is in addition to the organization's substantial support for basic health-care centres and hospitals launched in 2004.
The ICRC takes every opportunity to remind all the pa rties to the conflict that they are obliged under international humanitarian law to respect the population's physical integrity and freedom of movement. If the basic tenets of the law are not respected, even more people will flee the countryside and dependence on outside aid will continue to spiral upwards.
Meanwhile, the tracing and Red Cross message network has been expanded throughout Sudan to help restore contact between thousands of family members separated by conflict.
In the south, adapting to transition
In southern Sudan, the ICRC is implementing a series of carefully planned steps to adapt its structure and activities to the period of transition and reconstruction.
It is phasing out its operational base in Lokichokio, in neighbouring Kenya, while strengthening its southern Sudanese bases in Juba, Wau and Malakal and opening an office in Rumbek, the transitional capital of southern Sudan.
Activities focus on providing basic health care, restoring family links, responding to any unmet emergency needs of returning refugees and displaced people and raising awareness of IHL within the various armed forces.
Taking the Darfur crisis into account, Sudan is now the ICRC's largest operation worldwide, with around 200 expatriate and 1,800 national staff working in the country. The organization is working in close cooperation with hundreds of Sudanese Red Crescent staff and volunteers and in coordination with an increasing number of partner national societies.
For more detail on the ICRC's work in Sudan, see report