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Sudan OCHA bulletin 7: 25,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance in East Jebel Marra

March 19 - 2017 KHARTOUM

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan reports in its latest humanitarian bulletin that an inter-agency mission to Belle Elsereif village in East Jebel Marra locality, South Darfur, took place from 19 to 21 February to assess humanitarian needs in the area. People in Belle Elsereif and surrounding villages were affected by conflict between government forces and the Sudan Liberation Movement–Abdelwahid (SLA-AW) between 2014 and 2015.

The mission estimated that about 25,000 people (14,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), 7,500 returnees and 3,500 nomads) in the area need access to clean water and sanitation, health care and nutrition services, emergency household supplies, as well as education and protection support. The area lacks basic services and infrastructure. The mission stated that any humanitarian intervention should consider the nomadic communities who currently share the resources with the displaced and returnees. Registration and verification of needs should take place before the delivery of humanitarian  assistance. However, immediate assistance will soon be provided to the most vulnerable.

More water sources required to meet the needs of people in the area

There are three hand pumps in Belle Elsereif, the main village in the area, which serve both Belle Elsereif and 10 surrounding villages. People often have to wait up to three hours to collect water.

According to the mission, existing water sources are sufficient to serve 3,500 out of the 17,600 people in the area. Other water sources are located 2 to 3 kilometres away, which poses potential health hazards as the water points are also used by animals, and also means inhabitants may face potential protection risks while collecting water. As a result, the people in the area depend on inadequate, contaminated water sources in the immediate vicinity. There are no sanitation facilities in the area, but a few families were attempting to construct improvised latrines. Some of the mission recommendations include increasing the number of water sources for use by villagers and nomads; building latrines and carrying out sanitation awareness activities; and activating water user committees in Belle Elsereif.

Urgent need for health and nutrition assistance

There is no health facility in Belle Elsereif, however, there is a clinic made out of local materials 3km away in Dobo Al Madrassa village, which has one medical assistant and one nurse. This clinic serves people in Belle Elsereif and surrounding villages.

Recommendations include providing a wider range of health services; stocking existing facilities with essential medicines; vaccinating children and women; and carrying out health education and hygiene promotion activities.

A nutrition screening carried out in Belle Elsereif in September 2016 identified 43 children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and four children with oedema—swelling caused by the accumulation of fluid in the body. High rates of oedema can lead to high mortality rates among malnourished populations. During the conflict, nutrition facilities in the area were destroyed or looted, and there are currently no nutrition facilities or staff in Belle Elsereif or the surrounding villages. If immediate interventions are not undertaken, the nutrition status of children will deteriorate, according to mission findings.

Recommendations include starting outpatient therapeutic programmes (OTP) and therapeutic supplementary feeding programmes (TSFP) to tackle nutrition problems; and carrying out community awareness programmes to improve infant and young child feeding.

Schools need furniture and learning materials

There is one basic school in Belle Elsereif with 300 students and seven other schools in the surrounding villages accommodating 1,913 children. All schools lack teaching and learning materials and nearly all the teachers are volunteers. Recommendations include rehabilitating the schools in Belle Elsereif and surrounding villages; providing school furniture and learning materials; and bringing in teachers from the State Ministry of Education (SMoE).

Food support will be required during the lean season

People in Belle Elsereif have sufficient stocks of food to meet their current needs. However, their food security is likely to deteriorate during the May-August lean season due to the consumption of these food stocks. Recommendations from the mission include providing agricultural supplies to ensure sufficient food production and to improve livelihood options; and training farmers on using better water harvesting/irrigation techniques.


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