Fatima, a widowed mother who found refuge in a camp for displaced people in South Darfur, eagerly fills her family’s jerry cans. “This was like a miracle for us,” she says.
Basics such as water and sanitation are extremely scarce in bone-dry Dereige, an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp that houses over 25,000 people. Hundreds of families have found shelter in the camp since 2003 when violence caused them to flee their communities.
Fatima says overcrowded conditions are made worse by a steady flow of new arrivals, but at least the water is now clean: “We can now practice hand washing and we can afford to bathe every day.”
International NGO Mercy Corps Scotland (MSC) restored and expanded the existing system by connecting new water tanks in the camp area to two boreholes four kilometres away.
“Access to clean portable water before this project was extremely limited. Individuals were only receiving four litres of water per day through water trucking, which was not enough to sustain healthy households,” according to Isabel Martin, Humanitarian Programme Manager for MSC in Darfur.
Ms. Martin said women used to walk over 10 kilometres to collect drinkable water. Now they receive nearly 15 litres of safe drinking water per day at nearby water points.
This life-saving overhaul of the Dereige camp’s water system was made possible with a $200,000 grant from the OCHA-managed Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF).
The CHF provided $155 million to 289 humanitarian projects in Sudan and South Sudan in 2011. It has provided close to $900 million to Sudan since 2006. The funds target urgent humanitarian needs and critical gaps that are agreed on by the UN and partners through the Humanitarian Work Plan (HWP) of Sudan.
NGOs such as Mercy Corps are seeing a larger percentage of CHF funds. In 2006, when the fund was established, NGOs received 15 per cent of all disbursements. By 2011, this amount had almost tripled to 42 per cent of all funds allocated.
A new pooled fund mechanism will be established for South Sudan following its secession from Sudan in July 2011. The current CHF will continue to support requirements in Sudan to meet ongoing needs in Darfur and ongoing needs in Abyei, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. It seeks to mobilize $100 million or 10 per cent of the $1 billion requirement set out in the 2012 HWP.