Khartoum/Geneva — After dozens of people lost their lives and several others were injured in tribal clashes between 21 and 23 February, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Sudanese Red Crescent Society delivered medical supplies to the hospital in Al Sireaf and evacuated seriously wounded patients from the North Darfur town.
They also provided medical supplies for hospitals in Saraf Omra and Al Junaina, where other people injured in the clashes were taken.
In early January, tribal tensions and clashes in the Jebel Amer area of North Darfur resulted in the displacement of tens of thousands of people, who dispersed to five main locations: Kabkabiya, Al Sireaf, Saraf Omra, Garra Al Zawia and Abu Gamra.
"ICRC and Sudanese Red Crescent personnel were in Al Sireaf when the most recent clashes occurred," said Timothy Yates, head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Al Fashir. "They delivered enough medical supplies to treat over 100 wounded patients to Al Sireaf Rural Hospital. ICRC health staff assisted hospital staff in treating the casualties." The ICRC also organized the evacuation of 33 seriously injured patients from Al Sireaf by means of UNAMID (United Nations African Mission in Darfur) helicopters. The patients were taken to Al Fashir, where they were placed in the care of the health ministry of the state of North Darfur.
"Since early January, when the tribal clashes first began in Jebel Amer, we have been in regular contact with those playing key political, humanitarian or security roles in the area, as well as with tribal leaders, with the aim of better understanding the humanitarian situation and mounting an appropriate response," said Mr Yates. "These contacts enabled us and our key partner, the Sudanese Red Crescent, to enter the clash-hit areas with much-needed humanitarian aid."
Population displacement since early January has put pressure on already meagre water resources. Since the beginning of the year, the ICRC has repaired 22 hand pumps and installed six bladder tanks in areas where displaced people have gathered, and donated a generator and other items to help maintain the water supply for Al Sireaf Rural Hospital. Altogether, over 20,000 people have benefited.
After assessing various health-care centres, the ICRC donated to the facilities in Al Sireaf and Saraf Omra enough emergency medical supplies to cover the basic health needs of 1,000 patients in each for three months. More will be made available if necessary.
Several children in Garra Al Zawia, whose families are in Al Sireaf, were registered by the ICRC and the Sudanese Red Crescent and will be reunited with their loved ones once the situation permits.
The ICRC has been working in Sudan since 1978, and extended its operations to Darfur in 2004, where it provides assistance for victims of the armed conflict and other violence.