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WV's James Addis Reports From Chad

Refugees praise aid effort but seek more for education

World Vision's James Addis, reports from Chad

Refugee representatives at Iridimi refugee camp in Chad used the visit of senior WFP officials last week to press for further humanitarian aid. The representatives said 15 schools with 78 teachers, had been established in the camp, and they asked for assistance for the teachers and the schools.

WFP Chad director Phillipe Guyon Le Bouffy said the education of children was a UN concern and primary education was a special priority.

Meanwhile another refugee Abbaker Atom Abbaker – supervisor at the Medecins Sans Frontieres therapeutic and supplementary feeding centre, expressed his delight at World Vision’s food distributions and the interventions of other humanitarian agencies, which was leading to a steady decline in the number of severely malnourished children needing therapeutic feeding.

Mr Abbaker said the number of children requiring therapeutic feeding had declined from over 150 in June to just over 40 today, a trend he expected to continue.

He said when the camp was established back in April it was serviced irregularly by a single mobile clinic. Up to seven children a day were dying of malnutrition, diarrhoea and vomiting. Today child fatalities were down to about three per month.

Mr. Abbaker – a former teacher from Darfur - described how he himself had been forced to flee his village after attacks by Janjaweed and aerial assaults by bombers. He said warplanes had even chased those fleeing and continued to attack. Five people in his party had been killed as they reached the Chad border.

But Mr. Abbaker said his main concern now was for the children of his countrymen now in his care.

“Some of these children’s mothers and fathers have been killed and they are now dependent on other families. The children themselves can’t even begin to understand what is happening to them. Sometimes it brings me to tears,” he said.

World Vision is currently conducting blanket supplementary feeding targeting children under five and pregnant and lactating women in eleven refugee camps in Chad. Camps are strung out over 600 kilometres close to the Sudan border. Rations are distributed every two weeks.

So far New Zealanders have contributed $560,000 to World Vision’s emergency appeal for refugees in Chad and Sudan.

Donations can be made on free phone 0800 90 1010, or through the website: http://www.worldvision.org.nz

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