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Refugee Crisis in Dafur, Sudan

Refugee Crisis in Dafur, Sudan

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, the Catholic agency for justice, peace and development has released $NZD 15,000 to kick-start an appeal to assist the people of Dafur, Western Sudan and refugees across the border in Chad. The humanitarian crisis which has affected over 1 million people has been described by the United Nations as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

¡°Despite the peace talks, the situation in Sudan has become worse, rather than better over the past year,¡± said Caritas Emergency Co-ordinator, Tim Chiswell who has made regular visits to the troubled region.

Militias have been responsible for the burning of villages, looting, execution of civilians, rape, robbing of food supplies and forced depopulation of approximately a million people, with nearly 110,000 more having fled into neighbouring Chad.

The situation for the refugees now living camps close to the border is extremely difficult. The climate is especially harsh with frequent sand and dust storms and temperatures ranging from 4¢ªC at night to 45¢ªC during the day. Food and water is scarce and many refugees are showing signs of malnourishment. There is also a lack of adequate sanitation and health care facilities. The conflict has destroyed the fabric of family and community life with husbands and sons killed or captured by the militias; leaving women, children and the elderly to find sanctuary across the border.

Caritas Chad, have been in the region since 1981, are working with the Chad government, other NGOs and the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) to alleviate the plight of the refugees. Due to their long involvement in the area Caritas Chad is the main UNHCR partner and has been responsible for the food distribution, water, sanitation and the maintenance of infrastructure in three camps, each in excess of 10,000 people.

¡°The Sudanese government, international community and NGOs need to work together to stop this suffering,¡± said Mr Chiswell.

In Sudan, Caritas continues to work with its partners, SudanAid, the Sudan Council of Churches and the Action by Churches Together network to provide shelter, food, water and sanitation to thousands of people.

To make a donation please phone 0900 4 11 11.

Donations made to Caritas New Zealand will go directly to Chad and Sudan to help those in greatest need.

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