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Cablegate: Sudan - Iom and Donors Monitor Returns

VZCZCXRO3196
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0329/01 0611136
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 021136Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6338
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000329

SIPDIS

AIDAC
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/SPG, PRM, AND ALSO PASS USAID/W
USAID FOR DCHA SUDAN TEAM, AFR/SP
NAIROBI FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA, USAID/REDSO, AND FAS
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
NAIROBI FOR SFO
NSC FOR PMARCHAM, MMAGAN, AND TSHORTLEY
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
USUN FOR TMALY
BRUSSELS FOR PLERNER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI SU AU EARG
SUBJECT: SUDAN - IOM AND DONORS MONITOR RETURNS


KHARTOUM 00000329 001.2 OF 002


-------------------
SUMMARY AND COMMENT
-------------------

1. From January 22 to 27, the USAID Senior Humanitarian Advisor
(SHA) and representatives of five European countries participated in
a donor mission at the invitation of the International Organization
of Migration (IOM). The group assessed registration and departure
preparations in Khartoum-area internally displaced person (IDP)
camps and a way station for returning IDPs in Northern Bahr el
Ghazal State. The airlift of returning refugees from the Central
African Republic to Western Equatoria State was well planned and
executed. Major challenges are expected in communities where
physical and social infrastructure may be inadequate to absorb high
numbers of returnees. USAID is currently assessing such communities
and plans to recommend additional funding for the return operation,
including the establishment of an Emergency Response Fund at IOM to
rapidly address infrastructure gaps. End summary.

--------------------------------------------
TOUGH DECISIONS AND CONDITIONS FOR RETURNEES
--------------------------------------------

2. At the invitation of IOM, the USAID SHA and representatives of
Austria, Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and
the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO) observed
preparations for IDP returns from Khartoum-area camps to Northern
Bahr el Ghazal State and the return of refugees from Mboki, Central
African Republic, in Tambura, Western Equatoria State. The
Government of National Unity did not issue a visa in sufficient time
for a Department of State Bureau for Population, Refugees and
Migration (State/PRM) representative to participate. (Note:
State/PRM supported IOM's refugee return program with USD 1 million
in FY 2006 and USD 4 million in FY 2007. End note.) The itinerary
included visits to the registration and departure centers in
Khartoum; the arrival in Tambura, Western Equatoria State, of an
aircraft carrying 52 returning refugees; preparations for barge
transport on the Nile River from Juba, Central Equatoria State, to
Bor, Jonglei State; and a visit to a way station along the route for
IDPs returning from Khartoum to Northern Bahr el Ghazal State.

3. In Juba, the UN Deputy Humanitarian/Resident Coordinator noted
that unstable security conditions and lack of physical and social
infrastructure are challenges for the reintegration of returnees in
Southern Sudan. He stated that the entire region does not meet
Sphere standards, the humanitarian community's minimum goals in
emergency response. In addition to return packages of food and
household items for each family, the UN Common Humanitarian Fund
(CHF) provides funding for water systems, health centers, and
schools for receiving communities. Based on the IOM IDP Intentions
Survey conducted in September 2006, more than 58 percent of the IDPs
wish to return to communities in Southern Kordofan and Northern Bahr
el Ghazal states. The survey provides a wealth of demographic
information on the IDPs based on interviews with more than 6,400
households. Contrary to popular assumptions, the majority (51
percent) of the IDPs are male. Twenty-five percent of the
interviewees reported that they wanted to remain in Khartoum and
almost two-thirds of the IDPs wish to return home.

4. The donor group witnessed the arrival of an IOM/Office of the
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees-operated airplane with 52
returning refugees, including mothers with young children, elderly,
and handicapped adults. In collaboration with the Southern Sudan
Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC), IOM registered the
returning refugees and distributed a three-month food ration and a
household kit that included a bucket, kitchen set, two sleeping
mats, two blankets, a packet of eggplant seeds, a machete, and a
hoe. Females above 13 years of age received a toiletry kit and a
four-meter long piece of soft cloth for their personal needs.
Pregnant women received a safe delivery kit. The International
Medical Corps provided medical screening for the returnees. The
entire process was remarkably calm, without tension or shoving.

5. The chairman of the local SSRRC commended IOM and its partners
for the outstanding collaboration among agencies and with local
authorities. The chairman noted that the food rations may not be
adequate for families returning early in the year since they cannot
expect a first harvest of short-cycle crops until July at the
earliest. (Note: The UN World Food Program (WFP) is prepared to
conduct food-security assessments in return communities and
intervene with additional food rations where needed. In addition,

KHARTOUM 00000329 002.2 OF 002


WFP is planning targeted programs such as infrastructure
rehabilitation, agricultural recovery, and emergency school feeding
for all community residents who need assistance after their initial
ration is consumed. End note.)

----------------------------
PREPARATIONS FOR IDP RETURNS
----------------------------

6. Approximately 400,000 IDPs in the Khartoum camps and the
northern states have registered to return to Southern Sudan and the
Three Areas. As part of convoy preparations, IOM conducts a
verification exercise to determine whether people who had registered
to return still wish to relocate. The verification process includes
distribution of printed materials that detail the conditions the
returnee will find in the community of return. In addition,
HIV/AIDS and mine-awareness messages are included in the pictorial
information packet, as is guidance on how to avoid malaria, treat a
child with diarrhea, and prevent cholera. At the end of each travel
day, returnees rest in a way station such as the one the donors
visited in Warawar, Northern Bahr el Ghazal State. The facilities
included community tents, latrines, and showers. The latter two
were not ready at the time of the visit, but another donor reported
that they have since been completed.

--------------------------
Challenges and Conclusions
--------------------------

7. While organizing and executing the return of 200,000 IDPs and
102,000 refugees is a momentous task for IOM and UNHCR, settlement
and reintegration are far more difficult and require careful
monitoring. IOM has established teams to monitor the reintegration
process and conduct community assessments in areas of high return.
The teams will alert IOM and partners when communities fail to
absorb returnees. All agencies involved in the returns aim to
prevent returnees from becoming discouraged and returning to
displacement camps or establishing squatter areas. Similarly, WFP
plans to send assessment teams to high return areas to monitor food
security and prepare for interventions as needed.

8. USAID is assessing return communities in Northern Bahr el Ghazal
and Southern Kordofan states and identifying communities lacking
basic infrastructure, particularly water systems, to absorb
returnees. USAID is preparing to recommend additional funding to
IOM for IDP returns, with the possible inclusion of an emergency
response fund that would allow IOM to respond directly with
technical staff to meet urgent needs in receiving communities.
Alternatively, IOM could contract with non-governmental
organizations for interventions where appropriate. USAID has
successfully applied this model in the IDP return program in
Liberia. Discussions within USAID on how to structure such a fund
for Sudan are ongoing.

HUME

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