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Cablegate: Usaid/Ofda Darfur Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

VZCZCXRO2883
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1266/01 3130731
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 090731Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4711
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001266

SIPDIS

NSC FOR MGAVIN, LETIM
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
UN ROME FOR HSPANOS
NEW YORK FOR DMERCADO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI SMIG UN SU
SUBJECT: USAID/OFDA Darfur Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
Assessment

1. (U) Summary: Despite adequate safe drinking water supply in
most internally displaced person (IDP) camps in Darfur, substantial
gaps remain in sanitation and hygiene services, according to USAID's
Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) Water,
Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) advisor. WASH partners are working
to design and implement additional water supply strategies in rural
areas and are considering interventions to address nomad water
access concerns. End Summary.

-----------------------------------------
CURRENT WASH SERVICES: SUCCESSES AND GAPS
-----------------------------------------

2. (U) From October 3 to 14, a USAID/OFDA field team, including the
WASH advisor, visited program sites in internally displaced person
(IDP) camps, host communities, and rural areas in North, West, and
South Darfur to observe program implementation and sector trends.

3. (U) According to partner reports and field observations, the
quantity of water is adequate in most IDP camps, although water
usage assessments are needed to verify per capita water use due to
the constant flux in camp population. International
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the Government of National
Unity (GNU) monitor and report on water quality through the Office
of Water, Environment, and Sanitation (WES). The USAID/OFDA WASH
advisor noted that IDPs and host community members not only use
water for cooking, drinking, and personal hygiene but also for
livelihoods and income-generating activities such as brick-making,
watering animals, and transporting and selling water to nearby urban
areas. With UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) support, WES was able to
adequately fill water provision gaps created by the March 2009 NGO
expulsions.

4. (U) Hygiene and sanitation needs have been chronically
underserved in Darfur, with gaps present even prior to the
expulsions. Now, with fewer NGOs operating in this sector, the
sanitation situation in some areas has declined to critical levels.
In several areas, NGO partners are overwhelmed by sanitation and
hygiene needs. Kalma IDP camp in South Darfur provides a notable
example. Prior to the expulsions, CARE, OXFAM/GB, and WES all
worked in the WASH sector in the camp with programs including solid
waste management, latrine construction and cleaning, hygiene
promotion, water provision, and water quality monitoring. After the
expulsion of CARE and OXFAM, USAID/OFDA partner American Refugee
Committee (ARC), with support from UNICEF, began WASH activities in
the camp, but the work requirements to provide WASH support to the
estimated 82,000 individuals in Kalma are far greater than what one
NGO can accomplish independently. (Note: Following the NGO
expulsions, Kalma camp leaders have refused to permit WES or any
other Sudanese government agency to enter or work in the camp. End
note.) In recent weeks, NGOs providing health services in the camp
have reported increased cases of diarrhea and skin diseases, which
are soft indicators of deteriorating hygiene and sanitation.
However, to date in 2009, health monitors have not recorded any
cases of acute watery diarrhea (AWD), due in part to AWD prevention
programs, including soap distribution, hygiene education, and water
quality monitoring.

5. (U) WES and UNICEF monitor groundwater depletion throughout
Darfur and note that the water table shows signs of depletion near
urban areas with large populations and African Union-UN Hybrid
Operations in Darfur (UNAMID) facilities, where water demand and
usage are high. UNICEF and WES engineers are examining various
methods to increase groundwater recharge in these areas. Water
shortages are possible in the future if ground water is
insufficiently recharged by less than average rainfall and demand
for water remains high.

--------------------------
PROVIDING FOR PASTORALISTS
--------------------------

6. (U) In meetings with USAID/OFDA staff, WES described a plan to
target pastoralists, who claim to have been marginalized by the
Sudanese government and the international community over many years.
During the spring and fall migrations, pastoralists historically
remain for two weeks or more near villages to access village water.
Pastoralists' visits cause disruptions to village life and migrating
animals may damage crops. WES proposes placing water sources for
pastoralists a distance away from villages to minimize negative
interactions between the populations. The personnel who maintain
the village water system could also service additional water points,
with WES support. Nearby villages could use these water points for

KHARTOUM 00001266 002 OF 002


additional water when the pastoralists are not present. This
solution would require substantial GNU support.

---------------------
RURAL WATER PROVISION
---------------------

7. (U) In rural areas, UNICEF and WES are improving water provision
services. Each year, UNICEF and WES attempt to raise the percentage
of funds allocated to rural areas while maintaining service levels
in IDP camps. The USAID/OFDA WASH advisor noted that WES is the
best implementer of rural water activities because the agency will
be responsible for maintaining water systems in the future and has
good access in GNU-controlled areas in Darfur. The WASH advisor
further noted that standards for water provision in rural areas are
not equivalent to water needs in IDP camps. The GNU has established
standards for rural water provision that far exceed available water
in these areas, even prior to the beginning of the Darfur conflict.


8. (U) Comment: Security remains the major constraint to working in
rural areas of Darfur. The general atmosphere of insecurity and the
absence of rule of law in Darfur, including recent kidnappings and
continued incidences of banditry, discourage NGOs from working in
deep field locations. Sustainability of water interventions requires
not only hardware installation but also the software of training
mechanics and ensuring a supply chain of spare parts. Despite these
challenges, USAID/OFDA will continue to provide water, sanitation,
and hygiene support to vulnerable populations in Darfur, including
in rural areas, when possible.

WHITEHEAD

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