The World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that it delivered food to 1.6 million people in the western Sudan region of Darfur in Feb., a 34% increase over the number reached in Jan. and the highest monthly total fed since the start of WFP's Emergency Operation in Apr. 2004. A total of 28,668 metric tons of WFP food reached 1,611,407 people driven from their homes and local residents compared with 1,206,099 people in Jan. Dispatches by WFP of food to the three Darfur states rose by 22% in Feb. over Jan.
On 14 Mar., SRSG Pronk and PD/SRSG Zerihoun visited Abyei to meet with GoS and SPLM authorities and traditional leaders from both communities (Messariya and Ngok Dinka) in Abyei town. They also crossed the river Kir to meet with traditional leaders in Abyei area and were briefed by community leaders and representatives of civil society on issues of concern to the community. SRSG Pronk briefed the groups on both sides of the river on the priorities of the anticipated UN peace support mission as well as some general points regarding the mission's deployment.
North Darfur: On 13 Mar., three men dressed in military uniform broke into a house owned by a UN national staff member and fired at his relative who lives in the house. Although the relative escaped unhurt, the perpetrators harassed and assaulted his family and looted personal items including money. The UN is following up on the incident with local authorities.
On 12 Mar., a woman was killed near a water-well in Kutum town, 105 km north of El Fasher. The AU is investigating the incident.
South Darfur: On 9 Mar., a commercial bus was ambushed by unidentified gunmen in Khurshom, near Sanifandu, 65 km south east of Nyala. Two people were reportedly killed.
North Darfur: During a coordination meeting on 14 Mar., the Sexual and Gender-based violence (GBV) working group finalised its plan to conduct a situational analysis on the effects of the Darfur crisis on the health of women and girls during the first week of Apr. Simultaneous studies will be conducted in the two other Darfur states. A final report will be disseminated after the completion of the surveys in all the three states in Apr.
UNICEF in North Darfur is conducting an one-day training on child protection and code of conduct, targeting recently arrived AU civilian police officers in El Fasher.
South Darfur: Following reports that squatters are gradually settling in the Yassin area, AU monitors have stated their plans to visit the area and possibly set up a presence in Yassin to monitor the situation. Agencies are concerned that the settlement of these squatters in Yassin would prevent original inhabitants who have been displaced by the conflict to eventually return to these areas.
GoS authorities are insisting that some of the IDPs in Kalma camp be transferred to Al Salam camp in Hashaba and that agencies commence development of the camp. Agencies have urged that the process go through the Verification and Monitoring Unit (VMU) established following the agreement between IOM and GoS on return and relocation issues in Aug. 2004 and that GoS authorities identify other alternative sites in order to carryout simultaneous assessments and identify an appropriate site that is agreeable to the IDPs.
An interagency DPKO, OHCHR, UNDP rule of law planning team is visiting Sudan from 3-17 Mar. to assist UNAMIS in planning the judicial and legal systems component of the potential peace support operation. The team will identify rule of law issues that are core to the implementation of the CPA and will make recommendations on the mission's role in light of the planned and on-going programming of other UN system agencies and bi-lateral partners.
North Darfur: Increasing water shortages in Abu Shouk camp are of concern as agencies have noticed higher concentrations of people at water centres in the camp over the past few weeks. According to agencies, some individuals in the camp are engaged in brick making activity which further depletes the already limited water sources. During the past two months, agencies have been trying to find solutions for the relocation of some 25,000 who arrived in Abu Shouk in Dec. and Jan. to alleviate the caseload in Abu Shouk that has reached 89,000 IDPs whereas the camp can only accommodate 50,000 of the IDPs. After a few trials and unexpected disappointments in finding appropriate water sources in two identified sites (Bisharia and Sewalinga), agencies have settled for Sewalinga, which does not have water sources but is close enough to Abu Shouk to pump in the water from the various water wells existing in the camp. UNICEF has dug a well with a submersible pump near the site yielding approximately 75,000 litres per day.
South Darfur: Agencies are concerned that the 9,500 IDPs in Sanam El Naga, a location north of Gereida, in Burum locality, have not received food assistance since Aug. 2004 partly due to continued insecurity and a tense security atmosphere in the area.
The planned registration of IDPs in camps in Nyala town and Kalma camp is experiencing difficulties and has been delayed with residents from the town suspected to be camping outside the camps in anticipation of the registration exercise and in Kalma, due the lack of cooperation from IDP leaders. Registration in Kass was similarly delayed due to the failure of IDP leaders to effectively mobilize the IDPs in the area. WFP and CARE, however, have been able to complete registrations in several villages around Kass and plan to proceed with headcounts in Nyama, Gemeza, Dibis and Thur on 15 Mar.
General: Thirty-seven cases have been reported from West Darfur and eight cases have been reported from South Darfur. A supplementary measles immunization campaign targetting children from six months to 14 years of age has begun in Kass (South Darfur) and in Kanderni (West Darfur), two locations that have reported the majority of cases.
Eight cases and one death from suspected meningococcal meningitis were reported during the past week in the Darfur IDP camps. Most of the cases were reported in the Saraf Omra and Kalma camps. A lab confirmed a case of meningitis strain 135 in a patient from the Saraf Omra region. Four other cases have been found positive using the rapid Pastorex methodology.
South Darfur: Agencies continue to negotiate access to Rehed Al Berdi with GoS authorities. Despite various attempts, access to the area has so far been denied.