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Sudan OCHA bulletin 42: Measles cases almost five times the annual average

October 22 - 2015 KHARTOUM

The number of confirmed measles cases in Sudan has reached almost five times the annual average, according to the UN Children’s Agency (UNICEF). As of 4 October, the number of confirmed cases reached 3,351, including 71 deaths, according to the Sudanese Ministry of Health.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan reported in its latest weekly bulletin that the outbreak started in December 2014 and has affected 71 localities across all 18 states. The majority of cases (73 percent) has been reported among children under 15 years, of whom 55 percent are children under five years. The highest number of cases are reported in the states of West Darfur (667), Red Sea (563) and Kassala (533) and the highest number of deaths (23) was reported in North Darfur.

Aid organisations continue to respond to the outbreak in their areas of operation. The Health Ministry, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Unicef are developing two measles vaccination campaign proposals, one for areas where there is an outbreak and one for priority areas.

According to the Ministry, $5.2 million ($4 million from the Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF) and $1.2 million from the Sudanese government) have been allocated for measles response in 60 localities. However, additional funds of about $5 million are needed to cover operational costs for vaccinations for children under 15 years in some of the states.

JEM renews its commitment against the recruitment of child fighters

On 30 September, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) renewed its commitment in prohibiting the recruitment of child soldiers, Unamid reported. The Order instructs all members of JEM to adhere to the international norms and standards governing the protection of children and observe all the provisions of UN Security Council resolutions on children in armed conflict.

The recruitment and use of children in conflict is considered a serious crime under international law and the 2010 Sudan Child Act.

Voluntary repatriation of refugees from Chad and Sudan

A delegation from Chad conducted a cross-border mission to El Geneina, West Darfur, from 13-15 October to discuss prospects for the voluntary repatriation of Chadian refugees from Sudan and Sudanese refugees from Chad with key stakeholders. There are about 10,000 Chadians in Sudan and about 295,000 Sudanese refugees in Chad, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The majority of the Chadian refugees expressed their interest to return. However, pertinent issues include security in the areas of return, documentation, and the availability of education and basic services.

UNHCR Sudan also plans to sponsor representatives of Chadian refugees for a “go and see, come and tell” mission to Chad to allow refugees make informed decisions. A similar mission will be sponsored for the Sudanese refugees in Chad.

South Sudanese arrivals exceed the 2015 planning figure

As of 16 October, the total number of South Sudanese refugees in Sudan has reached 197,942, exceeding the 2015 planning figure of 196,000, according to the UNHCR. With the current rate of influx, the UN refugee agency expects an estimated 218,500 South Sudanese refugees to arrive in the country by the end of the year.

UNHCR and partners have started to work on the 2016 Regional Refugee Response Plan for the South Sudan situation, with the assumption that the influx will remain substantial in 2016.

During the past two weeks, 4,893 South Sudanese arrivals were confirmed, the majority of whom entered through South and West Kordofan (4,544) while only 243 arrived in White Nile state.

Aid organisations continue to provide humanitarian assistance to South Sudanese refugees arriving in Sudan. Nearly 60 percent of them have settled in seven refugee sites in White Nile state. The refugee sites have been overwhelmed with the continued influx and basic services and facilities are unable to meet growing needs. To help alleviate this problem, the Commissioner of El Salaam locality has identified two new sites, El Neem and El Waral.

According to the government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), more than 5,000 refugees have arrived in South Kordofan’s El Leri locality in September, bringing the total number of refugees in the locality to about 14,000. The new arrivals are in need of food, emergency shelter as well as water and sanitation services.

Read the full bulletin here

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