United Nations Sudan Situation Report 22 Mar 2005

Situation Report
Originally published
Key Developments:

On 22 Mar, a convoy comprising of two USAID and two IRC vehicles was attacked by armed men near Bulbul, about 30 km south of Kass. During the attack two international staff members were injured. The female staff member suffered serious injuries while a male staff member sustained minor injuries. Both were evacuated to Khartoum for medical treatment and the female victim was subsequently transported to Nairobi. GoS authorities and AU officials are investigating the incident. The road in question is now closed for UN travel.

Security Issues:

North Darfur: On 18 Mar., a vehicle belonging to the Government Water, Environment and Sanitation agency (WES) was hijacked in the region of Kafod, about 70 km NW of El Fasher. A passenger who was initially detained was subsequently released but the whereabouts of the driver and the vehicle are unknown.

South Darfur: Security incidents targeting commercial trucks continue to be reported including an attack on two commercial trucks travelling from Abrum to Kass on 16 Mar. The perpetrators looted items from the vehicles and reportedly killed one person and injured one. An additional passenger is reported missing.

In another incident, on 18 Mar., armed men attacked a passenger bus outside Beliel, which resulted in fighting between the passengers and the attackers. Some of the passengers were reported to have been carrying WFP food ration cards from Kalma camp.

The country director of the France-based INGO, Solidarites, was arrested in Nyala on 20 Mar. on unclear charges. The individual was released this afternoon.

On 20 Mar., an INGO team travelling with two vehicles was temporarily detained by militias. The militias reportedly took the staff's communications equipment before releasing them.

West Darfur: All major roads out of El Geneina town, expect for areas north of Sirba have been cleared for UN movement. However, UN agencies are now required to travel in convoys of four vehicles instead of the usual requirement of two per convoy.

A fire broke out in El Geneina's wood market on 21 Mar. reportedly destroying approximately 100 shelters and burning a truck. No injuries were reported. The causes for the fire have not been established.

On 20 Mar., two national staff members working for an INGO were abducted by unidentified gunmen during an attack on their convoy near Dabanera village, 5 km from Golo in Jebel Mara. Although the staff members were subsequently released later during the day, they reported to have been beaten and looted of their personal items, including money and watches. On the same day, it was reported that guards interrupted two armed men who were attempting to enter an INGO warehouse in Zaleingi. The men shot in the air before fleeing the site.

Unity State: There has been an increase in reports of the looting of cattle by militias and other unidentified armed groups in remote areas of Unity State over the last month. This insecurity could lead to armed clashes between militia groups and civilians.

Protection Issues:

North Darfur: Agencies commenced identification of IDPs with physical disabilities during the week of 13 Mar. So far, 77 IDPs have been identified. Agencies hope that this exercise will improve the services provided to these IDPs and address their specific needs.

South Darfur: The relocation of Kalma IDPs continues to experience delays as agencies are now assessing the appropriateness of Hashaba site, an area indicated by GoS authorities as a possible site. IOM is following up on the issue.

West Darfur: Protection incidents involving IDPs in Nertiti continue to be reported. In the most recent reports, three women were reportedly abducted by unknown individuals in Nertiti on 12 Mar. Another woman was reportedly shot in the arm in the same area on 16 Mar. The West Darfur Protection Working Group is following-up on this matter with the authorities.

Humanitarian Affairs:


North Darfur: Approximately 200 new households arrived in Abu Shouk between 19 and 21 Mar. The new arrivals are reportedly from the Korma area and cited insecurity, including lootings by militia, and food shortage as reasons for their displacement. The new arrivals further informed agencies that additional persons were expected to arrive in the camp over the next few days.

During a coordination meeting on 20 Mar. in El Fasher, WFP indicated that insecurity and logistical difficulties are expected to delay food distributions for the month of Mar. This follows a sharp increase in the number of security incidents affecting commercial transports since the beginning of Mar.

Humanitarian agencies met on 20 Mar. to discuss assistance to nomadic communities in North Darfur and tentatively agreed to conduct an interagency assessment of nomadic communities in rural Kutum between 2 and 4 Apr. Agencies have agreed to meet after the completion of the assessment for further discussions.

South Darfur: An interagency team plans to travel to areas west of Ed Daein in Assalaya area to assess humanitarian needs, particularly the food situation, in the coming week.

West Darfur: WFP's implementing partner, CARE, plans to complete registration of beneficiaries in Garsila, Deleij, Mukjar, Bindisi, Um Kheir, Zaleingi and Um Dukum during the week of 20 Mar. The registration in Bindisi on 20 Mar. was temporarily disrupted due to some disruptions by the IDPs.

Upper Nile: The final report of the Rapid Needs Assessment in Akobo, Jonglei has been released and circulated by the Emergency Preparedness and Response Team (EP&R). While the findings do not call for immediate action owing to the volatile security environment, the report suggests that if possible, before the start of the rainy season, assistance should be provided together with WFP food aid distribution to the vulnerable resident population in the area. It was recommended that non-food deliveries, including seeds and tools should be distributed to the approximately 2000-3000 returnees and those who may have lost their assets during the militia attack on Akobo in mid-Feb. A registration/tracking system should also be put in place to monitor the influx of returnees from Ethiopia. Tribal differences between Anyuak and Nuer continue and are hindering access to resources. It was recommended that this issue be addressed by the Protection Sector.

Equatoria: The EP&R unit is following up on the interventions planned in the Ezo and Tambura camps. WFP is now sending food to these camps, while the NFIs released by UNICEF have reached Yambio and should be distributed by World Vision. UNICEF is also following with World Vision to address the health needs. FAO promised to give a feedback on seeds and agricultural tools in the first week of Apr., while UNHCR and UNICEF are looking at rehabilitation of the water points as suggested in the Ezo and Tambura Needs Assessment report.


South Darfur: Preliminary results from a nutritional survey conducted by Tearfund in four IDP gatherings in the Ed Daein area, including camps in Ed Daein, Khor Omer, El Ferdous and Abu Matariq, indicate Global Malnutrition Rates (GAM) of over 20% and Severe Malnutrition Rates (SAM) of around 4%. Although the results have not yet been confirmed, the initial indications are of concern as they surpass the emergency threshold of around 10% GAM. Lack of food and access to water sources appear to be responsible for the high rates.

World Vision (WVI) reports an increase in bloody diarrhoea cases in Duma, one of the camps in Nyala town. WVI along with MoH is conducting laboratory tests to check whether the strain of dysentery is the same one reported during the week in Kalma camp. Agencies in Kalma have responded to the increased cases in Kalma with a mass distribution of soap accompanied with a hygiene campaign and a plan to increase water availability in the camp.

Unity State: The new hospital in Bentiu has not been in use since it was inaugurated by the President of Sudan on 20 Feb. The hospital was constructed with funds from local oil companies, and the medical equipment is in place inside the hospital. There is, however, a lack of qualified health personnel in Unity State, and therefore the hospital is not operating. The State Ministry of Health previously stated that it does not have the financial resources to attract the necessary health personnel from outside to work in Unity State. The situation was highlighted by the UN agencies on the ground during the visit of the donor mission.


Bahr el Ghazal: Sustainable Returns Team South, with support from the Norwegian liaison office, has been able to move forward on finding a solution to land allocation for some 500 returnees who have been living in an encampment behind the Rumbek hospital since last summer. A decision will be taken by local authorities, SRRC, IDP representatives and local community representatives in a meeting on the 22 Mar.

Figures released on the 20 Mar. by OCHA suggest that approximately 1,500 internally displaced are returning to south Sudan each week. The numbers have been collected through a joint GOS, SPLM, United Nations, IOM, and NGO monitoring and tracking system. Between 12 and 17 Mar., 1,531 returnees travelled through Kosti heading to destinations in South Sudan. A comprehensive tracking and monitoring system is currently being established in places of displacement, major return areas and along return routes.