IRC officially leaves Darfur, North and East Sudan
After more than 28 years of providing vital humanitarian assistance in northern Sudan, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has officially closed out its activities in the wake of mass aid agency expulsions and continuing concerns about the welfare of Sudanese civilians.
The IRC delivered essential aid to more than 800,000 people in Darfur at the peak of its programming – a leading provider of health, water, sanitation, education, women’s health and protection services. IRC teams also supported more than 1.1 million Sudanese people in North and East Sudan, focusing on essential health care, water, sanitation and livelihoods.
“The final IRC staff have now left northern Sudan following an exhausting, distressing and frustrating two-month process, which included the forced closure of our offices, seizure of assets and termination of staff contracts” says Kurt Tjossem, who oversees IRC programs in the Horn and East of Africa.
“IRC and other agencies have been subjected to years of frequent harassment and bureaucratic obstacles that impeded the urgent delivery of aid to communities across Sudan,” adds Tjossem. “I would like to thank IRC’s Sudanese staff who have shown great dediation and courage to bring help to the most vulnerable.”
The expulsion of the IRC and 12 other international agencies occurred immediately after the decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 4th March to indict the Sudanese President.
The IRC strongly affirms that it has never cooperated with the ICC in any way or provided information to the court. The IRC is an independent and impartial global relief agency whose mission is purely humanitarian in nature.
The expelled agencies provided around half of all humanitarian aid to Darfur alone and the full impact of the expulsions remains to be seen. Some activities carried out by the IRC have been assumed by other agencies, but most are stop-gap measures without the resources or funding to continue on a long-term basis.
“With the impending heavy rainy season almost upon us – time that regularly causcs flooding and helps to spread potentially fatal water-borne diseases – there are particular concerns that sanitation services will not meet the gaps,” says Tjossem.
The IRC has contingency plans in place in Chad and Southern Sudan in case the situation forces people to seek refuge elsewhere. Our teams also continue to support hundreds of thousands of people in Southern Sudan as it rebuilds after years of civil war.
A global leader in emergency relief, the IRC remains committed to helping the people of Sudan now and in the future.