Bahai beach

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Bahai Beach 17

Bahai Beach 17

Monday Id Fatur

For once the sun did not wake me up. Bursts of Kalashnikov fire, friendly fire for once. The local population is elated. No more fasting and big celebrations. Sheep are being prepared all over town. A month of fasting in a desert is not easy. Not drinking while it is up to 45 degrees Celsius makes people grumpy and sleepy in the afternoon. Inchallach energy levels of staff will be up and it is needed. Big work lies ahead. Sensitizing the refugee community and preparing them to leave for a camp located in a safer place further away from the Sudan – Chad border.
Saturday in the camp I had a very nice interesting discussion with some of my staff members. We were talking about the eminent threat. Antonovs (Russian planes used by the Sudanese airforce) are encroaching the Chadian airspace on a daily basis. These are the same planes that were used to bomb the villages of the refugees in Darfur. A trauma revisited. Look at the location of the pitched battle of Saturday 7th October with likely hundreds of deaths and wounded at a whopping 5 kilometer from Oure Cassoni camp. Who knows what may happen next time if a party decides to enter the refugee camp and use it as a battlefield. Given all that the answers of the staff were amazing. We will not move deeper into Chad. If we need to move we will go back to Sudan or to Libya. Allah will protect us and provide us with food and shelter if or rather when UNHCR and the INGO’s leave. Mayhap in a Kafkeskian twist a refugee camp may be set up for no refugees. Yet staying in this place is impossible given the security and water situation. My male staff made it perfectly clear that even if all the women and children wanted to move to the safer place one Zaghawa man saying no will suffice to refuse the move for all. Moving your house for a second time in 3 years is not easy. Their houses are mud brick construction which are really nice. Many people have sheep/goat/camels/donkeys and wish not to leave them behind. Oure Cassoni lies on the border to their home country and entry to it is very easy by either donkey or car. Many men are across the border tending to their herds knowing thqt their families are being taken care of in a refugee camp.
For us it implies running two camps for a limited time until all those refugees who wish to come to new site are transferred and then sadly we need to stop services at the old site. Old hands say that the reaction shown by the community are common. At first resistance but when the reality of the new camp sinks in more and more people may follow. For us to see if in this case it is true. Zagawas are fiercely independent and will make their own choices guided by their Umda (Sultan/King)
All the NGO’s working in Oure Cassoni have been visiting the new site. OXFAM is preparing a hydrological survey. Water points are being dug. Transportation of 25000 and a possible 15000 refugees more are being prepared. Setting up of a new camp while winding down the old site is being planned. I guess the whole transition is planned to take place in 3-4 months. If that is realistic is anyone ‘ s guess but that is what the time frame is.
The challenges that lie ahead are immense but I am confident that there is no other choice. The Chadian Government and UNHCR have decided that Oure Cassoni is not to be maintained at the current place. Let as plan for the worse and hope for the best.
On a lighter side I am proud that 7 chicklets are still winging it. On the way to grilled chicken according to some on the way to world conquering egg imperium according to me. They manage to roam freely in the morning but stay in their gate/residential area most of the time. Just to peek a boo at their beloving father early in the morning. A whited headed black bird is always popping up in the morning as well but our kingfisher seems to be less inclined hanging around violence. He or she has left.
The medical team is tired and they have done an amazing job. Taking care of over 100 injured soldiers in a war setting is just mind blowing. Deep deep respect to them. Three soldiers died in the hospital. One may still die. He refused amputation and is now septic (infection in the bloodstream) with a necrotic (dead tissue) leg. It may well be too late to save him. Yet only 2 days ago he in a clear state of mind refused to be helped. All his friends tried to convince him as well as the medical staff. His wiggling toes were proof to him that the leg was still functional. When the bandage was opened maggots crawled out. Disgusting as it may seem mostly they eat only dead tissue. Now his wound has progressed up to his hip. Amputation in a center like ours is impossible.
The camp has held well. Just a steep increase of cases of watery diarrhoea. We will map and try to find out if it is a single bladder, a latrine or a underusage of chlorine in the water. Luckily although cholera is around the corner in Sudan we are still unaffected. Essential services have been maintained even if the medical team could not go to the field every day.
Jan Pronk, the Dutch UN special envoy in Sudan is being kicked out of the country for saying what is clear. Sudan is continuing its cleansing of Darfur by airplanes. I am not saying that the Sudanese rebels are choirboys. After all most of the wounded and killed in the pitched battle of Carriari (the lake) were Government of Sudan and the attack took place during the month of Ramadan ( a month where war activities are usually stopped ) during the prepation of the meal to break the fast. Again against all war ethics. If you believe that there are just ways to fight battles at all?!
And the last disturbing fact many of the fighting rebels are not adults but boys. Child soldiers. When will the vicious cycle ever be broken. In the camp the only solution seen by the refugees is the immediate dispatch of UN troops. Why is 2 weeks of conflict in Lebanon enough to guarantee an influx of tens of thousand of UN troops and why is a far bigger conflict in Sudan ignored?
If anything I said on the CBS documentary 60 minutes called searching for Joseph aired yesterday in the USA I pray it to be the statement that it is time for people to stop closing their eyes and start caring again.

Have a great Id Faizal,



p.s. new photos of my chick farm will be posted today on today

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