As a result of the recent terrorist ombing attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, many of IRC's programs have been on a high security alert. Evacuation of expatriate staff was completed in Afghanistan and under way in Pakistan before the U.S. bombing raids in Afghanistan and Sudan occurred. IRC staff traveled from Peshawar to Islamabad by road convoy and from there took flights to Europe. In Sudan, one staff member left Khartoum by air with non-essential expatriates from CARE and ADRA. Three IRC staff members have moved into a safe location, and CARE, ADRA and the United Nations continue to maintain a presence in Sudan. The U.S. government has not issued a formal travel advisory for Sudan beyond urging people to "use discretion." The situation in Sudan is especially complicated because the Sudanese government has begun to assist U.S. NGOs that are attempting to aid the victims in the famine areas where catastrophic death rates persist. IRC will begin serving these areas deploying Sudanese staff beginning this weekend.
An outbreak of fighting between the Congolese military and local rebel groups in the North and South Kivu areas in the Democratic Republic of Congo near IRC program sites created a very dangerous situation earlier this month. NGOs were targets of looting although no one from any agency was injured. The border was sealed for several days and on August 7 IRC Bukavu staff was evacuated in a convoy to Rwanda. Presently the rebels are in firm control of the Kivu region and calm has returned. IRC staff remains in Rwanda and plans to return shortly to deal with an outbreak of cholera in Bukavu.
Lorna Stevens, Director, Board Liaison and Special Projects