Sudan

United Nations Sudan Situation Report 4 Jan 2005

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Key Developments:

In South Darfur, WVI will, by month's end, take over SC-UK operations in Mershing, Manawashi, and Duma

Security

North Darfur: On 2 January, two civilians were reportedly wounded and evacuated to El Fasher hospital from Koma after shots were fired at the commercial truck in which they were travelling.

South Darfur: From 10-30 km south of Nyala on the route to Gereida, several incidents of banditry/highway robbery occurred in the past week. As a result, several agencies have taken to using a more westerly route to ensure their safety. Common targets for the bandits have been buses and private vehicles.

Last week, an argument between two male IDPs in Otash camp required the intervention of police officers. One IDP physically threatened a police officer with a knife, who in turn shot and killed the IDP. No arrests were made and the situation has reportedly returned to normal in the camp.

West Darfur: A deadline was set this past Sunday for the NMRD to return all firearms and a jeep which had been taken from the GoS over the past two weeks. Whilst all ten GoS soldiers were released within days, the arms and jeep have been withheld. The GoS and NMRD are currently negotiating a peaceful settlement/arrangement and say that they plan to do all that is possible to avoid an armed clash.

Protection

North Darfur: An interagency rapid assessment of IDPs for Sewalinga Camp (Abu Shouk II) was conducted in Abu Shouk on 29-30 December. Main findings from discussions with over 200 individuals found that most IDPs wish to be consulted more in the planning and lay out of the camp; and that IDPs want to be reassured of their protection and safety in the camp. Many IDPs specify that they do not want police in the camp, but prefer an AU presence for security. Some of those interviewed directly expressed that they would not like to move to the new camp, while others said that they would move if security is assured. The Sewalinga task force will address the findings and recommendations of the rapid assessment report in their further planning of the camp and IOM will follow up with their verification and monitoring exercise.

SC-UK informed the PWG of the gaps in assistance to the separated children and the youth group programs in Tawila, Dali and Abou Shouk camp. In the coming days SC-UK will continue to meet with the humanitarian partners to ensure that some organisations assume these responsibilities upon their departure at the end of January.

South Darfur: SC-UK staff in Ed Daien reported that the resettled Dinka population in Salem el Naga has reported they were going to leave the area for Khor Omer (Ed Daein) due to a lack of food. This could potentially lead to the movement of 9,500 IDPs. Humanitarian agencies will visit the area to assess the situation later this week.

At the HAC protection meeting on 30 December, OCHA requested information concerning the reported 72-hour ultimatum given to the population by the military to leave the Marla area. The HAC commissioner did not dispute the fact that the message had been communicated on the ground, but only stated that the military commander in Nyala had not given an order for the IDPs to move and that there was some miscommunication. He also committed the HAC to investigating reports of looting by the soldiers, and to address tensions raised by their presence.

West Darfur: Some 3,000 internally displaced people have accumulated near Krenik village over the past two weeks and while a preliminary site visit was done, OCHA will conduct a complete assessment on 4 January.

Humanitarian Issues

North Darfur: On 3 January OCHA, WHO, UNICEF, WFP, SRC, Malteser and Oxfam made a trip to Tawila and Dali camp to assess the possibility of resuming humanitarian activities in these locations. SRC, which had just completed a food distribution, reported that approximately 15,400 people in Dali camp had been served and 16,000 people in Tawila had also received food. A number of the food recipients do not reside in the areas, but arrive from surrounding villages specifically for the distribution. IDPs and residents in these locations report they have resumed regular daily activities though prices of commodities in the markets have doubled over the past month. IDPs further reported that they were is a lack of drugs and health services with diarrhoea, malaria and eye infections the most reported issues. The Oxfam and SC-UK establishments (health clinics, offices etc) were intact, however closed off. None of the schools are functioning (lack of teachers) and IDPs expressed education for their children as their main priorities after food and health services. The IDPs are now staying in the area, however they still expressed some fear of potential new attacks. The findings from the interagency trip will be consolidated and presented at the Tawila meeting on Thursday.

Work is progressing in all sectors in Sewalinga camp (Abu Shouk II) though overall responsibility for camp management has not yet been taken by any organisation. The distribution of labour can be seen below:

Watsan -- Oxfam, UNICEF/WES, Coopi
Environment -- GoS
Camp planning -- THW, IRC
Shelter and NFI -- IRC, GAA, Oxfam
Food -- WFP
Health -- UNICEF, IRC, KPHF, GRC, WHO and MoH
Nutrition -- ACF, UNICEF
Hygiene promotion -- Oxfam
Education -- SC Sweden
Camp management -- GoS and ?
Community Service, protection etc -- The interagency group
Security - GoS

On 2 January, humanitarian agencies in El Fasher were called for a meeting by HAC to discuss and agree the figures of IDPs and conflict-affected people in North Darfur. Following the visit of the South African president, HAC disagreed with the IDP figures presented by the humanitarian community, claiming they were too high. At the meeting, WFP and OCHA presented their latest figures to the HAC, the Minister of Social Welfare and the Commissioners from Kutum, El Fasher and Waha. Subsequent discussions on 3 January established that HAC-compiled IDP figures are similar to those reported in OCHA's Darfur Humanitarian Profile.

South Darfur: Beliel has increased in size dramatically in recent days, and the humanitarian response in the area requires bolstering. IRC completed two new wells and 100 latrines for the newly arrived, and food was distributed in December, making it necessary for a new registration by SPCR (WFP partner).

West Darfur: Local government authorities announced that some 3,000 refugees have voluntarily returned to West Darfur on 1 January 2005. While the details remain unknown, it was said that the returnees did not return to villages of origin, but rather to other destinations including El Geneina. The refugees themselves have yet to be assessed by humanitarian agencies, which will be now be followed by UNHCR.

In Zalingei, the HAC Commissioner met with OCHA to discuss voluntary returns in the area, stating that his office recognizes the GoS commitments made under the Management and Coordination Mechanism (MCM). It was also reported that GoS efforts toward encouraging the IDP population to return to certain villages would continue as talks with traditional leaders and the preparation of return locations continued with the deployment of police to ensure proper security. OCHA is encouraging UNHCR and/or IOM to open an office in Zalingei (which is in West Darfur and falls under the auspices of UNHCR with regard to returns).

Food/NFIs

South Darfur: Solidarities, the recipient of 32 WFP food trucks and NFI lorries, assisted approximately 6,000 IDPs near Sheriya town in the last week, most scattered around the outskirts of the city (tension between the residents and the newly displaced have kept many from moving into the town, though the situation has reportedly improved in recent days). The agency believes roughly 15,000 IDPs remain unassisted near Sheriya with even more scattered near Muhujariya town.

Health

South Darfur: Humanitarian agencies report that the village of Muhujarija remains largely empty of both residents and IDPs, with many scattered in the bush, only returning for medical treatment and to collect water.

MSF-H national staff have remained in Muhujarija, despite tensions in the area, to provide therapeutic feeding and health care, and expatriate staff continue to visit daily. MSF-H continues to monitor and provide mobile health in Ta'asha town area, though the needs are low and the beneficiaries are few. OCHA was requested to investigate the area between Muhujairja, Ta'asha, and Sheriya to aid in the identification of newly displaced.