Relief distributed in North Darfur

Khartoum (CICR) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Sudanese Red Crescent Society today started distributing one-month food rations and essential household items to over 7,200 people in Kabkabiya, North Darfur.

Armed tribal clashes occurred in January in Jebel Amer. Tens of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes to Kabkabiya, Al Sireaf, Saraf Omra, Garra Al Zawia and Abu Gamra.

"People continue to face food shortages," said Timothy Yates, head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Al Fashir. "They also require other forms of humanitarian aid." ICRC and Sudanese Red Crescent staff have been assessing the needs of the people affected and have started delivering food – such as sorghum, beans, oil, salt and sugar – and other aid such as cooking sets, jerrycans and soap. After the distributions in Kabkabiya have been completed, attention will be turned to people in Garra Al Zawia and Al Sireaf.

"Population displacement since January has put pressure on already meagre water resources in several locations," Yates explained. Since the beginning of the year, he said, the ICRC had repaired 30 hand pumps and installed six bladder tanks in Saraf Omrah and Al Sireaf. The organization had also donated a generator for the Al Sireaf hospital and would conduct an assessment of the hospital's water, sanitation and electrical needs, then respond accordingly. Altogether, over 20,000 people had benefited from this first phase of the operation.

The ICRC is also planning to support the work of the Garra Al Zawia health clinic in conjunction with the State Ministry of Health in North Darfur. It will contribute, when needed, to staff pay incentives and provide the facility with medical supplies and technical advice for up to six months.

Meanwhile, ICRC medical staff swung into action and emergency medical supplies were provided to treat people injured by fighting in Al Sireaf in February. Thirty-three seriously injured people were evacuated on 24 February to Al Fashir for treatment.

Several children in Garra Al Zawia, whose families are in Al Sireaf, were registered by the ICRC and the Sudanese Red Crescent and will be reunited with their loved in the next few days.

The ICRC has been working in Sudan since 1978. In 2004 it extended its operations to Darfur, where it helps people affected by the armed conflict and other violence.

For further information, please contact:

Adil Sharif, ICRC Khartoum (for Arabic), tel: +249 1 83 476 464 or +249 91 213 77 64
Rafiullah Qureshi, ICRC Khartoum (for English), tel: +249 1 83 476 464 or +249 912 170 567
Alexis Heeb, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 218 76 10 c