A meningitis outbreak has been declared after agencies confirmed five cases in Saraf Umra, North Darfur, three of them during the same week. The threshold for the epidemic is two cases in one week. WHO has placed an urgent order of vaccines and will dispatch the vaccines to the area as soon as it arrives in the country. More details below.
On 19 Mar., donors from the international community returned to Khartoum to share impressions and information gathered during a five-day field visit in Sudan. Seven teams of donors, representing 11 countries and the European Union, visited 14 different locations as part of a United Nations inter-agency mission to give donors the opportunity to see for themselves the contrasting and complex situation in the many regions of Sudan. Senior UN officials, Sudanese government and SPLM representatives also participated. Please see accompanying press release for more details.
On 18 Mar., SRSG Pronk travelled to Luxembourg for meetings with Luxembourg's Foreign Minister, Mr. Asselborn, and the defence ministers of European Union countries. The discussions focussed on the role the EU can play in assisting the UN carry out its anticipated mandate in Sudan.
North Darfur: On 17 Mar., it was reported that commercial buses and trucks were stopped by a group of approximately 50 people who allegedly looted items from the vehicles and raped eight women 35 km west of Kebkabiya in the Saraf Umra -- Kebkabiya road.
South Darfur: On 16 Mar., 10 empty WFP-contracted lorries travelling from Nyala to Ed Daein were ambushed north of Saniafandu. The perpetrators reportedly looted the drivers' personal items before releasing the drivers and the trucks. A similar incident was reported on 18 Mar. where seven empty WFP-contracted lorries were stopped 28 km SE of Nyala while en route to Ed Daein.
Another humanitarian convoy was stopped near Bulbul on 15 Mar. The perpetrators demanded SD 500 before allowing the convoy to proceed.
West Darfur: Areas around El Geneina town are gradually being cleared for UN movement following security assessments on major roads. Areas north of Geneina remain 'no go' however due to continuing insecurity, including heavy fighting reported on 16 Mar. in the Jebel Moon area as well as in Sirba.
North Darfur: The US-based INGO, CHF- International reports that it distributed 150 metric tons of fodder in Zam Zam camp on 19 Mar., targetting approximately 1,500 donkeys for a period of one month. The agency hopes that in addition to improving the health of the livestock, this intervention could also decrease the amount of time women in the camp spend outside of the camp collecting fodder for the donkeys.
South Darfur: A case of male rape in South Darfur was reported in Marla during the week of 13 Mar. OHCHR is following up on the report.
GoS authorities in Nyala said that police officers were reluctant to deploy to Duma and Mershing due to rebel activity in the area. This follows a request by agencies for more police officers to these areas due to increasing protection incidents outside of the camps.
In South Darfur, HAC authorities have now agreed to allow humanitarian agencies to advertise, short-list and recruit staff without any restrictions. Some agencies have agreed to compromise to allow silent HAC observers at interviews to ensure transparency.
North Darfur: Following a temporary impasse of about three weeks where access to SLA areas in North Darfur was halted due to the absence of a reliable SLA interlocutor to carry out the notification procedure, access improved after a meeting with a new SLA interlocutor on 18 Mar. An interagency humanitarian team travelled to Dar Zagawa areas on 20 Mar. and is expected to return to El Fasher in the next four days in order to plan a response to the identified needs. Agencies suspected that the areas may be affected by food shortages due to a drought affecting the areas.
The interruption of access to SLA areas over the past couple of weeks appears to have seriously affected the availability of food in Malha. A group of representatives from Malha raised this concern with agencies on 16 Mar. WFP along with its implementing partners are following up on the issue and planning a food distribution for the month of Mar.
A steady stream of new arrivals to Zam Zam camp is affecting the limited water and sanitation sources in the camp. Agencies are investigating the reasons behind the new displacement, suspected to be triggered by food insecurity in the rural areas around the camp.
Due to a break in the WFP food pipeline, planned food distributions in Um Kheir and Galab for approximately 17,000 beneficiaries, as well as in Shangil Tobay and Shadad for about 28,000, have been postponed until further notice.
An inter-agency meeting to discuss assistance to nomadic populations is planned for 21 Mar. to be followed by a needs assessment mission to identified areas.
Local authorities have indicated an alternative site to accommodate the approximately 25,000 IDPs that are currently in Abu Shouk camp. The two previously identified sites were deemed inappropriate as the first did not have water and the second had water sources that were contaminated. Agencies hope that the new site will be the final option and would hold adequate and good water sources so that the relocation could be carried out as soon as possible.
South Darfur: Agencies operating in Kalma have commenced planning for the upcoming rainy season expected in May-June to avoid camp flooding, collapse of latrine facilities and potential inaccessibility to the camp
North Darfur: As noted above, a meningitis outbreak has been declared after agencies confirmed five cases in Saraf Umra, three of them during the same week. A total of five laboratory confirmed cases of Meningococcal Meningitis have been reported in the IDP camp of Saraf Omra in North Darfur since 11 Jan. 2005 (four laboratory confirmed as NM W 135, and one laboratory confirmed NM A). With these results, the threshold has been passed and the situation has developed into an outbreak as by the approved FMoH/WHO Standard Operating Procedures. The total of suspected cases (including unconfirmed cases) is 27, including two deaths within the camp. A micro plan to vaccinate Saraf Omra has been developed and about 160,000 doses of Meningitis trivalent vaccine have been requested from WHO Geneva. For vaccination of UN and NGO staff, tetravalent vaccines are available at the UN clinic in Khartoum and the MERT clinics in the Darfur states. WHO provided all laboratory reagent and supplies for the confirmation of the disease together with drugs necessary for case management in all of Sudan's states.
South Darfur: Due to reported widespread dysentery in Kalma camp, World Vision (WVI) plans to distribute large quantities of soap starting the week of 27 Mar.
Agencies operating in Kass reported 10 cases of measles during the week of 23 Mar. Agencies are advocating for a mass vaccination in the area to MoH.