Sudan: Drought Appeal No. 11/01 Final Report

Originally published


This Final Report is intended for reporting on emergency appeals
Launched on: 2 March 2001 for CHF 5,582,404 for 6 months. (Appeal target included WFP resourced food valued at CHF 3,000,000). The programme was extended until the end of December 2001 to allow for the implementation of some components.

DREF Allocated: CHF 29,000 (for the initial assessment mission); repaid Beneficiaries: 289,000 Final Operations Report

"At a glance" Appeal coverage: 100.4%

Summary/Update: Throughout the implementation of the emergency response to this complex disaster, SRCS gained additional experience and further enhanced its capacities. Through a number of workshops in all four operational States, the volunteers were trained in beneficiary selection, registration, monitoring of food distribution, data collection, disaster preparedness and management, first aid, water, health and sanitation education, and other disciplines.

The National Society once again proved its ability to conduct large-scale operations, its ongoing good partnership with the government disaster response and health departments, as well as other organisations. Despite the progress made, one of the major constraints faced was a lack of ability of the SRCS to report in a timely manner, for both narrative and financial feedback. Additionally, much work has been done throughout 2002 to clear a considerable financial backlog. It is unfortunate that this final report has been so delayed but a combination of the above elements plus delayed activities, difficult communications, and a change in Federation personnel over the last year have all contributed to the delay.

Figures provided in the accompanying financial statement are those up to and including November 2002. It is anticipated that the deficit of CHF 237,000 shown on this statement will be covered by an outstanding pledge from the American Government (USAID -- the final settlement remains pending). Final figures for the end of year 2003 are due to be completed in the next few weeks, and an updated financial summary will be available.

Operational Developments:

A severe drought experienced across central, western and southern Sudan during 2001, caused by low and sporadic rainfall in previous years (100-200mm compared to an annual average of 400mm), has affected several million people, many of whom became at acute risk of severe food insecurity. Due to depleted water resources and lack of rain, the agricultural production also became critically low.

By July 2001, food insecurity had reached emergency levels. Cereals could only be found at central markets at extremely high prices and rural markets stood almost empty of cereal produce. The coping mechanism of the population included a search for alternative sources of food - mukhiet, a shrub, which produces seeds that are ground up and mixed with water, thus supplementing the limited cereal content of the meals.

Pasture and grazing land became extremely limited and only available in certain pockets of the country, causing huge losses of animals. Some reports stated that as many as 80% of households in Red Sea State remained with no animals left. At the same time, livestock trade experienced serious stagnation, reducing access to the main source of income, hence further reducing the coping capacities of the affected communities. At the worst crisis level, the livestock reached extreme trading prices of six goats to one bag of 90 kg sorghum, the traditional staple food in Sudan (normally, the price would be one animal exchanged for one bag of sorghum).

Open wells and canals had dried out in many places, causing serious threat to the availability of potable water to the population and animals. The health risks related to a scarcity of safe drinking water, together with an increased malnutrition and combined with low immunisation coverage, threatened an increase in the incidence of mortality and morbidity, due to waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea and dysentery. Displacements of entire families to urban centres became dramatic. These large-scale distress migrations posed a serious security risk, due to an increased danger of inter-tribal clashes and robberies. In addition, they increased the vulnerability to health risks, due to a reduced access to an already low number of health facilities.

Red Cross Red Crescent action

The likelihood of severe drought had already been forecasted during 2000, with early warning signs detected (such as low measured average annual rainfall in Western Sudan and Red Sea State). During January and February two field assessments were conducted in South and North Darfur and in Red Sea State. The assessment team was composed of staff from Sudanese Red Crescent Society, Federation country and regional delegations and several PNS delegates. Access to safe water, emergency food and medical care were identified as the most crucial interventions urgently required.

Following the assessments and consultations with the government and other partners, Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) and the Federation decided to concentrate relief activities in three areas (North and South Darfur and Red Sea States). Detailed plans of action to provide the emergency needs to the most vulnerable were prepared by SRCS and the Federation in close co-operation with the government's Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC).

Responding to the needs, Appeal no. 11/01 was launched by the Federation on behalf of SRCS on 2 March 2001, seeking some CHF 5,582,404 to assist 289,000 beneficiaries for a period of six months. As a result of an agreement between WFP, the Federation and SRCS, the appeal budget included a significant food component (consisting of 6,500MT of cereal, pulses, and vegetable oil) valued at about CHF 3,000,000, and contributed by WFP.

Initial donor response to the appeal was weak. Similarly, the UN's Sudan Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) received poor donor coverage, further compounding the seriousness of the situation. However, after a statement made by the Government of Sudan (25 April) emphasising the crisis situation and that the need for assistance had become critical, the donor response improved, eventually covering most of the Appeal's requirements.

Red Cross and Red Crescent Society

Through its network of branches, the Sudanese Red Crescent had been co-operating with the government in monitoring and collection of information concerning rainfall and available water resources throughout 2000. Similarly, all programme activities related to drought were closely coordinated at national and regional levels between SRCS and the HAC - the main governmental body responsible for co-ordinating all disaster response humanitarian activities.

From the start of its disaster response operation, SRCS established an 'emergency operations room' at its headquarters in Khartoum and a relief committee in each of the three operational states. The coordination of activities was carried out by the National Relief Co-ordinator and three State Branch Relief Officers. Their tasks included management of all branch staff and volunteers in accordance with the plan of action designed for each state.

The tasks of the volunteers ranged from selecting and registering of beneficiaries for food and seeds distribution, field monitoring visits to the programme areas, collecting and compiling of post-monitoring data, reporting and providing recommendations based on monitoring findings, participating in assessment missions conducted in the course of programme implementation, and other related functions.

Volunteers also conducted a range of health related activities, such as a baseline Health and Nutrition Survey in Red Sea State, First Aid training and health promotion seminars to communities and Village Health Committees, as well as training of communities in water, health and sanitation related subjects.


Objective 1 Red Sea State: To improve the access of the most vulnerable groups to primary health services and health education in targeted areas

These objectives focused on provision of limited primary health care, first aid and health education, complementing the provision of food rations to the drought-affected rural communities in seven localities - five in Sinkat Province and two in Red Sea Province. This also included identifying health problems of the nomadic groups and notifying health facilities of any outbreak of diseases.

The objectives were achieved through:

  • Provision of medical assistance and public health information through activated mobile health clinics;

  • Provision of drugs to four hospitals, six clinics and nine dispensaries.

Mobile health clinic activities were implemented in close co-operation with the State Ministry of Health and the local councils, who seconded a medical assistant and two certified nurses to SRCS in each locality. SRCS volunteers assisted the medical team and conducted health education sessions at the centres. They were provided with essential medicines and equipment, transportation means and a tent. Medical supplies were procured locally with the funding provided by Norwegian and German Red Cross Societies and their respective governments, as well as the French and American governments.

Following the completion of food distribution cycles (the first at the end of June, the second in September 2001 and the third in February 2002), the mobile health clinic team conducted its visits to the population of seven localities.

During the first round, a total of 2,497 patients were examined and provided with treatment, while during the second round conducted in October, 4,063 patients received assisted. The highest number of diseases treated by the team included acute respiratory infections (ARI), diarrhoea, anaemia, vitamin-A deficiency, but also malaria, dysentery, urinary tract infections, blood pressure problems, digestive complaints, eye infections, nutrition blindness, dental problems, ear infections and bronchial pneumonia.

The vast majority of treated patients concerned children of up to 14 years of age. Due to insufficient quantities of drugs for adults, not all persons received treatment; particular shortages were with anaemia medicines for pregnant women. A number of suspected cases of tuberculosis were transferred to the hospital for further diagnosis. The team also reported that a large number of men have left the area in search of employment elsewhere.

Main recommendations provided by the medical team concerned the following:

  • to provide anaemia medicines and vitamins, especially for pregnant and lactating mothers; to increase the quantity of children's medicines and to provide IV fluids; to provide mobile laboratory testing of malaria and TB suspected cases;

  • to consider adding milk to the food basket (essential dietary component of the communities), in great shortage, due to livestock severely affected by the drought; to revise the list of medicines in co-operation with local health authorities and increase the quantity of adult drugs.

Parallel to the medical assistance, first aid volunteers conducted health promotion sessions to the communities, focusing on preventive issues surrounding primary care, waterborne diseases, nutritional education, the importance of immunisation, as well as water resource management, and better hygiene and sanitation practices. The recommended and ordered Vitamin A for west and south-east Sinkat did not arrive in time, but was distributed separately on 13 November 2001, in conjunction with the 9th polio campaign.

The main constraint to the work of the team is the vastness of the catchment area, as well as the fact that nearly no permanent health care is being provided there, thus facing the need for assistance beyond its capacity. Due to some logistical planning problems, this component of the programme was not implemented alongside the food distribution events, thus reducing the potentially higher number of persons benefiting from health information.

Objective 2 Southern Darfur: Reduce community health vulnerabilities, including those related to communicable and water borne diseases, and institute a surveillance regime

The Southern Darfur branch conducted a first aid training in Nyala between 15 July and 5 August for forty SRCS volunteers and community leaders from Sheria, Muhageria, Netega and Beleil localities. The trained volunteers and community leaders are expected to train others and thus spread the health messages amongst their own communities.

Two workshops for Village Health Committees were held in Sheria at the end of August. The intention of the workshops was to enhance the community awareness and participation on disease prevention and health education, as well as intensify health education at grass-root level. Sixty community leaders, beneficiaries and volunteers from the targeted fifteen villages participated in these workshops.

Objective 3 Northern Darfur: Promote sustainable water supply and increase community awareness of health promoting hygiene practices

In conjunction with the rehabilitation of selected water resource facilities in El Fashir and Dar El Salam localities, nine community training seminars were organised for 360 volunteers, community leaders and members of health committees, with an approximate gender ratio of 50:50. Each course lasted for seven days and they were all conducted in villages where water source rehabilitation had taken place.

This training comprised of the following components:

  • ealth and sanitation issues with special attention to waterborne diseases;

  • the role of SRCS in the community;

  • maintenance and operation of rural water sources and hand pumps;

  • management of water sources, imposition and use of water tariffs.

The courses were conducted jointly by SRCS, the Water and Environmental Sanitation Project (WESP), and the Department of Environmental Health.


Objective 1 Red Sea State: Provision of emergency water and rehabilitation of selected water sources in targeted areas.

The initial objective of providing emergency water supplies from Gebit and Derudeb, and transporting it by rail to the affected population in Sinkat, had to be abandoned. This was due to a considerable decrease in water resources in Gebit, caused by three years of continuous drought, resulting in insufficient water needs for the population there. At the same time, the railway line between Derudeb and Sinkat was not functioning.

Desalination project, Sinkat town:

The proposed alternative solution was to carry out a desalination process of two existing bore-holes in the town itself, with a capacity to provide the beneficiaries with 200-500 cubic metres of water each day. Under this process, the salted water from two bore-holes (in Wadi and Sinkat) would be pumped to two underground storage tanks, where a desalination machine would process the water and transfer it into an elevated water tank, from where the distribution would continue to the beneficiaries.

In August 2001, an agreement was signed between the SRCS/Red Sea State and the State Ministry for Planning and Engineering. The agreement specified the roles and obligations of each partner. Under its terms, SRCS provided its services in construction of 1,500 metres of pipeline at the selected site, two underground tanks according to specifications required, as well as rehabilitation of the existing elevation tank. Funds for this project were provided by French government and USAID.

The Ministry of Engineering had to provide and install the desalination machine, provide material required for desalination, complete rehabilitation of two existing bore-holes, as well as provide and install two submersible pumps and provide a 45 KVA generator. Following a revised technical advice, instead of one 45 KVA generator planned, two smaller ones were proposed.

The two bore-holes were rehabilitated and both submersible pumps installed. The desalination machine was installed. Following procurement of 250 UPVC pipes, 1,500 metres of trench were dug, and the pipes connected between the bore-holes and the salt water tank. The two underground tanks were built and the rehabilitation of elevated tank was completed. Both generators were installed and successfully tested.

Work on the desalination project was ended in April 2002 and the plant produces 60,000 litres of desalinated water per day, so that the community in Sinkat has access to clean and purified drinking water at a very low cost (SDD 20 per 20 litres).

Rehabilitation of water resources in Red Sea State localities:

The second component of this objective focused on rehabilitation and construction of 77 open wells (through deepening, maintenance and internal skimming) and 42 hand pumps in affected localities: Sinkat, Gebiet, Tahamiam, Hayia and Derudeb, with the funding provided by American, French, German, Norwegian governments/Red Cross Societies.

A water engineer from the State Water Corporation, familiar with the local water system, was seconded to the project on a part time basis for a period of four months. In addition, an independent local consultant/water engineer participated in the programme.

Open wells and hand pumps for rehabilitation were selected in collaboration with local relief committees (LRCs) and the local government. Adjustments were made to the initial selection, with the result that the total numbers of rehabilitated or reconstructed wells and hand pumps surpassed the original objective, and reached 91 and 42 respectively. This was due primarily to taking advantage of opportunities to reutilise wells which had not been foreseen, responding to the needs of highly motivated communities who took it upon themselves to initiate the work, as well as reconsideration of sites that proved to be dry.

Due to the late arrival of financial contributions, activities in this field were delayed. The work commenced only in August 2001.

Table (1): Construction/Rehabilitation of hand-dug wells in Red Sea State:

Hand-dug wells planned
Hand-dug wells completed

The completed wells are fully functioning, providing the local settlement communities with much needed clean drinking water. Apart from providing water to the communities, an additional benefit is seen in a reduction of workload for women who had to collect and transport the water from long distances.

The heavy rains in September and October affected Sinkat, Gebiet, Hayia and Tahamiam, and although generally improving the situation there, also caused some flooding. As a consequence, the rehabilitation programme experienced delays, as some wells became flooded and required cleaning before continuing the work. In addition, long distances between the sites posed an additional strain to the implementation, due to poor road conditions. Additional delays occurred when a number of sites were identified as project sites, while in reality, following some further work, they proved to be dry.

A Food for Work programme for rehabilitation of hand-dug wells, planned to be done in co-operation with WFP, could not be implemented due to shortage of available food. Casual labour with community participation was used to complete the projects.

Table (2): Rehabilitation of hand-pumps in Red Sea State:

Handpumps Planned
Handpumps completed

Objective 2 Northern Darfur: Mitigate distress migration

In previous years, the severe shortage of water in this highly drought-prone area caused communities to migrate to other parts of Sudan. To reduce the risk of migration caused by drought in 2001, the programme rehabilitated the water resources in El Fashir and Dar El Salam localities.

To secure the technical guidance, SRCS employed a part-time local water engineer and a programme officer for North Darfur. A water engineer from the State Water Corporation (SWC) was seconded to the project to initially reassess the required inputs and spare parts for the five bore-holes. Following the results of this assessment, as well as the planned implementation timetable, the material and spare parts were procured in Khartoum and supplied at the end of July.

A formal co-operation agreement between the SRCS branch and the Water and Environmental Sanitation Project (WESP) was signed, stipulating WESP's responsibility to rehabilitate and install the hand pumps under the supervision of the SRCS Northern Darfur State Branch.

The work commenced in August and was completed in the first week of October 2001. According to plan, all five bore-holes and 30 hand-pumps were rehabilitated. Twenty SRCS volunteers participated in direct implementation, while some 70 volunteers participated in initial surveys. Two of the hand pumps were not operational (in Amm Zuur and Amm Samasim), due to a lack of underground water, a result of two consecutive years of severe drought. Funding of this component was provided by the French and American governments.

However, the demand for water in this state remains high. The branch has received 147 requests from villages and communities in need of new water sources or rehabilitation of the existing ones. Some requests have also recommended the inclusion of fencing, tools for maintenance and fast moving spare parts.

Relief distributions

In addition to health, shelter and water/sanitation needs, the essential requirement was to provide emergency food rations to the most affected population.

The Red Cross/Red Crescent response to this first emergency phase included: Provision of food rations to 109,000 beneficiaries in Red Sea State; Provision of food rations to 24,688 beneficiaries in South Darfur State.

The United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) agreed to provide food commodities to the SRCS, initially consisting of half rations (cereals, pulses and vegetable oil).

During the second phase, SRCS conducted activities aimed at restoring food self-sufficiency of 80,825 severely affected households in Red Sea, North, West and South Darfur states, with seeds provided by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

In addition to seed distribution, each beneficiary household received relevant technical agricultural advice, taking into account micro-agronomic/ecological terrain, as well as their capacities and experience. This has been conducted by agronomists throughout the cropping season, seconded to SRCS branches by the State Ministry of Agriculture. Each beneficiary household would, in case of a successful harvest, return three kilogrammes of seeds to village committees, thus creating seed reserve banks at village council level.

A good harvest was anticipated in some places. However, pest attacks and birds caused a significant reduction in the yield. Food shortages during 2000-2001, which forced men to search for work elsewhere, appeared to have been another constraint to the production. Many areas would depend highly on these food crops, as they experienced failure in millet production for two and sometimes three years in a row, seriously threatening their livelihood and survival.

A total of eight agreements were signed with WFP and FAO stipulating roles and responsibilities of each party in management of the operations. Although some problems were faced, such as the late arrival of commodities and transport difficulties, distributions were carried out successfully as indicated under separate objectives.

Objective 1 Red Sea State: To distribute balanced food rations to 109,000 persons and 14,000 IDPs* for 6 months in 3 cycles.

The first cycle of food distribution was implemented during May and June by two SRCS teams, with a total of 1,733.03 MT distributed to 109,000 beneficiaries. A Post Distribution Monitoring study (SRCS/WFP) conducted between 11 and 16 July showed its positive impact preventing migration. In Rural Port Sudan about 90% of the beneficiaries were consuming two meals per day, while 10% consumed three meals. The part given to kinship was 26%. In Sinkat 84% were taking one to two meals per day and 16% three meals. They gave away 36% to kinship and used 7% as animal feed.

There have been some comments on the suitability of food baskets. The sorghum was received well, being the local staple food. However, women complained about the peas, which were hard to cook and required considerable quantities of firewood in an area where firewood is scarce. Soaking the peas overnight and grinding did not solve the problem.

Table (3): First food rations distribution cycle in Red Sea State:

Cereals (MT)
Pulses (MT)
Vegetable Oil (MT)
Subtotal (MT)
Red Sea

*A joint WFP/SRCS/OXFAM food needs assessment study undertaken in Red Sea State to determine changes in
vulnerability was conducted at the end of July. The mission found an increased level of vulnerability with no assets,
resources or wealth for coping and the food gap was estimated to be 70-100% in most population groups. An additional
caseload of IDPs in Sinkat province was found to be in need of food distribution.

Consequently the following decisions were taken for the Red Sea State:

  • Immediately change the food rations from half to full (for the second and third cycle);

  • Increase the number of beneficiaries from 109,000 to 123,000 by adding 14,000 displaced (second and third cycle);

  • Prolong the period of food assistance until the end of December.

The second food distribution cycle started on 04 August and went ahead smoothly. Pulses were replaced by CSB (corn soya blend), provided by the German Red Cross, and a full ration was handed out, except for oil, which was only given in half ration due to insufficient supply. Distribution also covered 15,932 IDPs. A local transport contractor played a significant role and food reached the most remote areas without any delay. A second Post Distribution Monitoring exercise by WFP and SRCS was carried out according to plan. The monitoring showed a positive impact: there was a significant reduction in population movements from rural to urban areas; stabilisation of market prices; and an increase in food consumption (due to the suitability of distributed commodities):

Sinkat province:Consumed 74% Given to Kinship 26% Red Sea Province: Consumed 67% Given to Kinship 33%

Table (4): Second food rations distribution cycle in Red Sea State:

Cereals (MT)
Vegetable Oil (MT)
Subtotal (MT)
Red Sea

The start of the third cycle was hampered by several problems. The food stored at WFP warehouses had to be fumigated, which took a while. Some questions were raised concerning the type of cereal proposed for distribution: WFP was not able to secure sorghum. Instead, they proposed the inclusion of maize in the third cycle. As maize is not known or used by the indigenous population, it would require considerable energy, skill and equipment to prepare, thus was considered unsuitable for distribution. As there seemed to be no other option, it was agreed that the proposed distribution would go ahead. The third cycle started implementation during the last week of November, but was halted again one week later, as re-fumigating of maize was required. Finally, the distribution was completed only by the end of the second week of February 2002.

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