(OCHA Sudan ) From 5 to 9 July, a joint inter-agency (I-A) mission led by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and HAC in Central Darfur visited Rokoro town and the surrounding villages of Burgo, Keya, Aro, Niscam, Wara, Abunga and Solow to assess humanitarian needs. North Jebel Marra locality has been mainly inaccessible to aid organisations for a number of years and fighting in the area first in 2015 and later in January 2016 led to the displacement of people from the area. Since the beginning of 2017—due to the new HAC directives on humanitarian action—there has been significant improvement in humanitarian access to the Jebel Marra area and in re-establishing humanitarian presence in the area.
According to the local community, since early this year an estimated 15,000 people have returned from North Darfur’s Tawila and Sortony areas to Fanga Suk, Burgo, Kaya, Logo, and Aro villages to their home areas in the locality, and returns are continuing. Women make up over 65 per cent of the population, and over 80 per cent of school-age children—the majority of whom are girls—are reportedly out of school, according to the mission findings. The team found a mix of residents, returnees and IDPs live in the villages and it was not possible to estimate the population at the time of the mission. According to local authorities, prior to displacement from this area the population of North Jebel Marra locality was 180,000 in the three administrative units of Rokoro, Niscam and Turra.
Displacement has prevented people from engaging in productive work including agricultural activities during crop seasons. The main humanitarian needs in the area include food, emergency household supplies, water—as all the villages were found to consume water from unsafe sources—health and education assistance. Facilities for basic services including schools, health centres and water points were either dilapidated due to neglect and lack of repair or had been destroyed during past conflicts. Aid organisations are developing a comprehensive plan to respond to the needs of the affected people.
Health and nutrition
There are three primary healthcare centres in Rokoro town, Abunga and Fanga Suk which are run by the international NGO Catholic Relief Services (CRS), however, communities in remote locations cannot easily access these centres mainly due to lack of transportation. In addition, there are 11 Family Health Units in the locality that have been built by the government, but not all are functioning. Malnutrition was observed among children and routine immunizations have not been carried out in the area for a long time. Some children as old as 13 years have never been immunized. In addition, the lack of regular medical supplies has hindered the provision of health assistance. In response, the SMoH has hired a doctor and a lab technician to be based in Rokoro town.
The nutrition situation in North Jebel Marra locality is poor with a major gap in most communities especially those in the North corridor areas of Burgo and Aro. To address malnutrition, CRS has been providing Out Patient Therapeutic Program (OTP) services since August 2015 using Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) and Social Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) strategies in Rokoro town and Solow, Daya and Abunga villages in the locality.
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