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Cablegate: Darfur - Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Update

VZCZCXRO0534
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1988/01 3470639
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 130639Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9540
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KHARTOUM 001988

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 BPITTMAN
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
USUN FOR TMALY
BRUSSELS FOR PBROWN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI UN SU
SUBJECT: DARFUR - WATER, SANITATION, AND HYGIENE UPDATE


KHARTOUM 00001988 001.2 OF 003


-------
Summary
-------

1. From November 11 to 24, a water, sanitation, and hygiene
specialist from USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance
(USAID/OFDA) traveled to North and South Darfur to evaluate the
effectiveness of ongoing USAID-funded programs and make
recommendations for future interventions. The USAID/OFDA specialist
reported that all non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are
implementing water and sanitation interventions in a satisfactory
manner. Major challenges face implementing agencies in Darfur,
including insecurity and the increasing water, sanitation, and
hygiene needs resulting from continued and new population
displacements. Sectoral coordination and interventions have
improved in the past year, despite the limitations created by
insecurity. The USAID/OFDA specialist reported that agencies are
rapidly assessing the needs of displaced populations and
implementing effective activities. The primary focus for the water,
sanitation, and hygiene sector continues to be delivery of
comprehensive, well coordinated interventions to internally
displaced person (IDP) populations in camps and large host
communities. The major challenges facing the sector in 2008 will be
increased needs from newly displaced populations and aging camp
infrastructure. End Summary.

----------
Background
----------

2. The USAID/OFDA specialist met in Khartoum with representatives
from the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), UN Educational, Scientific,
and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the UN Environment Program
(UNEP). In Darfur, the USAID/OFDA specialist met with
representatives from UNICEF, the UN World Health Organization (WHO),
and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(OCHA), as well as USAID implementing partners International Rescue
Committee (IRC), CARE, Action Contre la Faim (ACF), American Refugee
Committee (ARC), World Relief, GOAL, Mercy Corps, and World Vision.
In addition, the specialist met with three other NGOs not funded by
USAID: Medecins Sans Frontieres/Holland (MSF/H), Oxfam, and
Triangle.

3. The USAID/OFDA specialist visited several IDP camps, including As
Salaam and Abu Shouk in North Darfur and Otash, Derieg, and Sakali
Old Camp in South Darfur. Security issues in Darfur limited access
to rural project sites and prevented a more comprehensive assessment
of USAID-funded activities. The specialist previously traveled to
Darfur to conduct similar humanitarian assessments for USAID in June
2004, May 2005, and May 2006.

4. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2007, USAID/OFDA provided USD 24.2 million to
support water, sanitation, and hygiene activities in Darfur.
Funding in this sector represents approximately 24 percent of
USAID/OFDA's total budget for non-food humanitarian assistance in
Darfur.

--------
Findings
--------

5. According to the specialist's assessment, all USAID-funded
organizations visited in Darfur are implementing effective water,
sanitation, and hygiene interventions, despite the chronic
challenges of insecurity, logistics, and bureaucratic impediments.
However, recent increases in IDP populations resulting from
relocation and new displacement have created an increased need for
water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions. Meeting these
unforeseen needs has budget implications that may limit the
successful delivery of services for additional influxes of IDPs.
Replacing aging camp infrastructure is also an increasing financial
burden for organizations.

6. COORDINATION: All NGOs interviewed stated they deliver a
standardized comprehensive water, sanitation, and hygiene program
either independently or in conjunction with other NGOs. This
coordination has resulted in a significant improvement in services
since 2006. UNICEF's leadership in the sector is satisfactory,
according to the specialist. Agencies use sector coordination
meetings and related workgroups, which were formed to address
critical issues, to effectively solve water and sanitation problems

KHARTOUM 00001988 002.2 OF 003


throughout the region. The presence of UNICEF and WHO technical
staff are instrumental in improving sectoral coordination.

7. TECHNICAL CAPACITY: The technical staff of UNICEF and WHO offer
expert advice to the NGO community, facilitate meetings, and lead
work sessions that address critical water and sanitation needs.
Their knowledge and experience has assisted in implementation of
comprehensive NGO programs. In 2007, UNICEF and Oxfam developed 14
technical guidance manuals on water, sanitation, and hygiene that
are now undergoing final NGO review. The manuals will be adopted as
best practice guidance for water, sanitation, and hygiene in Darfur
and will help to standardize and improve interventions.

8. HEALTH AND HYGIENE PROMOTION: In 2007, the water, sanitation,
and hygiene sector improved the delivery of health and hygiene
services. NGOs promote hygiene in concert with other interventions,
not as separate programs as in the past. The health and hygiene
programs include strong tools -- such as knowledge, attitudes, and
practice (KAP) surveys -- that NGOs use to evaluate the
effectiveness of their interventions. Camp hygiene promoters
partner closely with water program staff to ensure maximum impact.
Water and hygiene staff work together to conduct household water
sampling and initiate campaigns to clean water containers and
disinfect water.

9. CHOLERA OUTBREAK AVOIDED: During the 2006 Darfur cholera
outbreak, WHO recorded 2,768 cases of acute watery diarrhea. This
was avoided in 2007 through an aggressive hygiene promotion and
water disinfection campaign prior to the rainy season that monitored
water supplies daily and chlorinated all water supplies.
Chlorination monitors were stationed at hand pumps to educate the
public and disinfect water in household containers. Hygiene
promoters visited homes to test water supplies and educate residents
on cholera prevention. The campaign was implemented by UNICEF, the
Government of National Unity's Office of Water and Environmental
Sanitation (WES), and other organizations and was co-funded by
USAID/OFDA. To date in 2007, WHO has not reported any cases of
acute watery diarrhea or cholera throughout Darfur, indicating a
significant achievement for the humanitarian community.

10. DRINKING WATER: NGOs are meeting Sphere standards for water
quality and quantity in all stable camp environments. Large
influxes of IDPs due to insecurity temporarily overburden water
supplies, but relief agencies rapidly expand services to meet the
changing needs. In 2008, improving water quality at the household
level is a critical objective for the sector. In 2007, the sector
discovered that water samples taken at homes were contaminated
despite chlorination at watering points, which dispensed
decontaminated water. In some camps in North Darfur, more than 90
percent of water tested at households was found to have bacterial
contamination. The sector is addressing this with large-scale
household water sampling, hygiene education, and jerry can cleaning
and exchange campaigns. These efforts have decreased the rate of
contaminated household water supplies dramatically, to as low as 5
percent in some camps.

11. GROUNDWATER MONITORING: In June, with support from USAID/OFDA,
UNICEF implemented a water well monitoring program to evaluate water
extraction rates and sustainability of groundwater resources.
UNICEF is providing ground water measuring equipment and training to
NGOs. UNICEF hopes to gather enough data in 2008 to develop camp
water resource management guidance and develop water shortage
contingency plans. (Note: In FY 2007, USAID/OFDA began requiring all
partners in the water, sanitation, and hygiene sector to monitor
wells. End Note.)

12. SANITATION: NGOs are meeting Sphere standards for latrine usage
in all stable camp environments. As with water resources, large
influxes of IDPs due to insecurity temporarily overburden camp
sanitation services, but relief organizations rapidly take action to
meet the changing needs. Latrine construction is costly and
unforeseen increases in camp population impact NGOs' budgets.

13. SOLID WASTE COLLECTION: Solid waste collection involves either
removing the solid waste from camp or burning the waste in the camp
at designated sites. NGO staff interviewed stated that their
organizations all implement solid waste activities as part of the
comprehensive water, sanitation, and hygiene program, but the
USAID/OFDA specialist noted that some improvements were needed in
this area.


KHARTOUM 00001988 003.2 OF 003


14. SUSTAINABILITY: In 2007, UNICEF and some USAID-funded NGOs have
piloted programs to transfer the delivery of water, sanitation, and
hygiene interventions to camp residents through use of water
committees. NGOs provide oversight, guidance, evaluation, and
material support to the committees. Camp residents have generally
accepted this, but a few camps have been less enthusiastic. This
transfer of service delivery is motivated by the recognition that
funding and operations are temporary. The transfer of services
appears to have increased the sustainability of some water,
sanitation, and hygiene camp operations. For example, from the end
of October to mid-November in Kalma IDP camp, NGOs evacuated the
camp, but water facilities continued to operate until fuel ran out
and were protected by water committees during the absence of NGOs.


-----------
Conclusions
-----------

15. In general, the water, sanitation, and hygiene sector is meeting
international standards for emergency response in Darfur. While
insecurity and new displacement continue to present challenges for
relief operations, agencies working in the water, sanitation, and
hygiene sector have responded rapidly and effectively in 2007. In
Darfur, the sector has high levels of technical capacity and
agencies have a proactive approach to hygiene promotion, which has
resulted in preventing a cholera outbreak following the 2007 rainy
season.

FERNANDEZ

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