Cablegate: Darfur - South Darfur Situation Report
PP RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #2225/01 2571305
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 141305Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4544
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 002225
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 JBRAUSE, NSC/AFRICA FOR TSHORTLEY
USUN FOR TMALY
BRUSSELS FOR PLERNER
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI SU
SUBJECT: DARFUR - SOUTH DARFUR SITUATION REPORT
REF: KHARTOUM 1625
KHARTOUM 00002225 001.2 OF 002
1. (SBU) Though security in South Darfur remains relatively stable,
humanitarian organizations are anxious about the potential for
increased insecurity as the dry season approaches. Decreasing
security and increased fighting in North Darfur may already be
affecting South Darfur. Additionally, problems in the health sector
and with camp coordination concern USAID field staff. End Summary.
2. (SBU) South Darfur is currently experiencing a period of
relative calm that creates a generally permissive atmosphere for the
delivery of humanitarian assistance. For example, the UN World Food
Program (WFP) reached 99 percent of targeted beneficiaries in South
Darfur during the month of August. The feeling on the ground,
however, is that this may only be a temporary window of opportunity.
The arrival of the dry season in early October could trigger the
resumption of military operations, which are currently inhibited by
the high water levels in wadis (seasonal rivers) and washed-out dirt
roads. WFP is preparing for such events by instructing cooperating
partners to distribute double or even triple rations during the
month of September in potentially insecure areas of South Darfur.
By doing so, WFP aims to allocate food to beneficiaries who may not
be accessible in October/November if conflict renews and decrease
warehouse stocks that are vulnerable to looting.
3. (SBU) As early as August 3, the UN security officials and the
African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) announced unconfirmed reports
of a National Redemption Front (NRF) presence in Adula village,
located east of Shaeria. On August 24, UN sources reported an
attack by armed men in the village of Songo, located 160 km
southwest of Buram in the extreme south of the state. Finally,
reports indicate that a clash occurred in Muhajariya, South Darfur,
on August 26.
4. (SBU) The most notable recent conflict in South Darfur is that
between the two Arab ethnic groups of Habanya and the Reizegat,
though this dispute is not believed to be related to the larger
conflict. Fighting that took place in the localities of Ferdus and
Buram started at the beginning of 2006 and reignited in early July.
The fighting in July caused the displacement of an unknown number of
Reizegat to Ed Daein and the relocation of more than 32,000 Habanya
into Buram town for safety. By July 31, more than 20,000 of the
Habanya internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Buram returned to
their villages of origin. On August 9, the South Darfur State Wali
presided over a ceremony in which the Habanya and Reizegat signed a
peace agreement. According to the International Organization for
Migration, the Wali gave the groups SD 150 million (approximately
USD 700,000) to be used to pay compensation for losses incurred
during the fighting. Recently, UN sources have reported attacks on
Al Amoud Al Akdar village and other surrounding villages, located
south of Buram on September 9 and August 29. As of September 12,
humanitarians have been unable to reach the village to confirm
reports of civilian casualties, burned villages, and other damage.
The UN plans to travel to the village within the coming days.
USAID's Darfur Field Office (USAID/DFO) staff will continue to
closely monitor this situation and report on the outcomes of the
5. (SBU) Cholera continues to be the focus of the health sector in
South Darfur. USAID reports that State Ministry of Health (SMOH)
officials insist on referring to it as "acute watery diarrhea"
despite national level officials' utilization of the term "cholera."
The UN World Health Organization (WHO) began reporting cases in
Nyala town on May 24, which spread initially to other areas of the
state including Ed Daein, Kass, and Gereida. However, since
mid-June, the cases have been concentrated primarily in Nyala town
and Kalma camp. The official SMOH/WHO surveillance system shows
that the epidemic peaked in week 30 at 143 cases and that the
current number of new cases has declined to 68 in week 35. Although
KHARTOUM 00002225 002.2 OF 002
this surveillance system has considerable flaws including limited
geographic coverage and low reporting rates, this general downward
trend is also supported anecdotally by non-governmental
organizations (NGOs). By the end of August, the two cholera
treatment centers in Nyala town and Kalma camp had a daily average
of only 10 patients each.
6. (SBU) USAID/DFO has noticed that the lack of coordinated
leadership in the South Darfur cholera response is a matter of
concern. Three months after the first reported cases of cholera WHO
and SMOH have yet to present a comprehensive or actionable response
plan. Health promotion, hygiene education, water chlorination
campaigns, and oral rehydration therapy programs have proceeded in
fits and starts with little effective coverage or coordination with
NGOs providing volunteers and supplies. The lack of overall
leadership from WHO and SMOH has led NGOs to create a parallel
coordination structure for exchange of information. USAID/DFO staff
noted that the UN Children's Fund resumed coordination of the Nyala
town water chlorination campaign in late August, which is being
implemented relatively well by USAID partner CARE and the Sudanese
government Office of Water and Environmental Sanitation (WES).
7. (SBU) Camp coordinators work to identify gaps within the
response, facilitate dialogue between the camp residents and the
NGOs working there, register new arrivals, and respond to crises.
The absence of designated camp coordinating agencies had created
noticeable humanitarian gaps leaving community grievances
unaddressed in some of the IDP camps surrounding Nyala including
Otash, Dereig, and Al Salaam. To solve this problem, the UN Office
for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) took the lead in
working with the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) to encourage the
naming of camp coordinators for these locations. In June, the
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) mobilized staff in anticipation of
filling these roles.
8. (SBU) On July 20, HAC designated the German NGO Humedicas to
coordinate Al Salaam camp. In mid-August, after long delays, HAC
named two local NGOs, Sudanese Red Crescent Society and Rehad al
Fursan, as the coordinators for Otash and Dereig camps,
respectively. OCHA has expressed reservation as to whether the two
local NGOs have the capacity and resources effectively to fulfill
the camp coordination role and plans to conduct a capacity building
workshop for the organizations on September 16.
9. (SBU) On July 27, OCHA named NRC as the camp coordinator for
Gereida, where an estimated 128,000 IDPs now live, making it the
largest camp in all of Darfur. OCHA was able to make this
determination without the involvement of HAC because Gereida is in
SLA-controlled territory. NRC is expected to help address immediate
needs, such as the replacement of more than 600 latrines that
recently collapsed due to sandy soil and heavy rains, identifying
community priorities, and filling the gap in the information flow of
events in Gereida back to the humanitarian community in Nyala.
10. (SBU) On September 3, Kalma camp coordinator NRC was stopped at
the HAC checkpoint outside of Kalma camp and not allowed to enter
the camp. Upon conferring with HAC in Nyala town, NRC was told that
there was a HAC investigation underway and that they would not be
allowed into the camp until a three-day investigation was completed.
However, as of September 13, NRC has still not been allowed to
return to Kalma camp. The lack of camp coordination in Kalma is
preventing USAID/OFDA partner CARE from returning to the camp to
resume water and sanitation activities. CARE was relying on NRC to
facilitate a meeting with sheiks in Kalma camp to negotiate
guarantees for the security of their staff; without NRC present, the
meeting has not taken place.