The IRC has flown 15 tons of emergency
supplies into North Darfur, western Sudan, to improve water supply for
tens of thousands of uprooted people fleeing ongoing violence in a conflict
between government and opposition forces.
Those fleeing the attacks all describe similar terrifying scenarios: aerial bombings of villages, ground assaults by Janjaweed militias, mass rape of women, murder of men and boys, burning of houses and crops and looting of supplies.
Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese are displaced and most are in desperate need of food, shelter and health services in what's being called the world's most dire humanitarian crisis at this time.
IRC Responds in Sudan
The IRC airlift was in response to severe shortages of safe drinking water in North Darfur. The plane touched down in the city of Al Fasher, the hub of IRC humanitarian aid in the region. The supplies, funded by the John Whitehead Emergency Fund, include water pumps, generators, steel tanks, water bladders, chlorine, water clarifiers, testing kits, tools and hardware.
At work in Sudan for more than 20 years, the IRC expanded emergency sanitation, water supply and health care programs to North Darfur last month. Our emergency teams are working in two camps around Al Fasher-the vast Kuttum settlement, with over 110,000 displaced people, and Mellit, with a population of nearly 30,000.
IRC mobile and camp-based clinics are providing basic health care, while sanitation teams dig solid waste pits, remove and bury animal carcasses and designate sanitation sites. We've also set up hand-washing stations and are working to prevent contamination of existing water sources.
IRC Responds in Chad
Along the desolate northern border of eastern Chad, IRC teams are also responding to the critical needs of tens of thousands of Sudanese refugees who are seeking safety in under-served desert villages. Refugees continue to arrive daily from Darfur.
Projects are underway in and around Bahai and Cariari, focusing on emergency health and sanitation. Working with IRC-trained nurses from the refugee communities, the IRC has set up health posts and dispatched mobile health teams to provide basic curative and preventative services, as well as medical care for war-related injuries. We've also begun an information campaign in Bahai to identify and respond to a potential outbreak of meningitis following the detection of nearly 30 cases.
Water quantity, quality and access remain significant problems, with few functioning wells. The IRC is beginning a project to work with the refugee communities to build new wells at appropriate sites and to deepen and protect existing wells. Meanwhile, the abundance of animal carcasses in and around settlements continues to pose a public health risk. The IRC is working to collect and dispose of the carcasses. Please read IRC Responds to Public Health Threat at Refugee Sites in Eastern Chad for more details.