Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour received President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Peter Maurer who was on a three-day visit to Sudan that concluded Thursday.
The ICRC in a statement said it will increase its field assistance activities in Sudan’s Darfur region in 2018, returning to an area where years of conflict have adversely affected the health and welfare of residents.
The ICRC plans to open a new office in Kadugli, a development welcomed by local authorities.
The ICRC will also for the first time carry out new assistance activities in South Kordofan. Recent visits to South Kordofan and Central Darfur by the ICRC found people in need of food, safe drinking water and access to health care.
“Families living in Sudan’s conflict-affected areas have been suffering much too long from the effects of prolonged violence,” Maurer said. “It’s notable that the Government of Sudan recognizes these needs and is allowing the ICRC to carry out a broader range of activities in these critical areas.”
The ICRC assistance activities will gradually increase in partnership with the Sudanese Red Crescent Society and relevant authorities.
The ICRC hopes in the future to cross lines of control and directly assist all civilians suffering from conflict and violence, including in armed opposition held areas.
“We want to address short-term needs but we know we must also help strengthen the resilience of the people in the long-term,” Maurer said.
ICRC assistance in Sudan planned for 2018 includes the distribution of seeds, tools and pesticides to help internally displaced communities and host communities to grow their own food, aid that will help 108,000 people. Food or cash will be distributed to help those families until the harvest. ICRC teams will also repair water pumps and vaccinate livestock.
The ICRC resumed its field assistance work after suspending field operations in Darfur in 2015 because of limited access. The ICRC has continued to support orthopedic patients at the National Authority for Prosthetics and Orthotics, to reconnect families separated by conflict, and to act as a neutral intermediary during prisoner releases.