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Caritas Delivers Relief Supplies to Darfur, Sudan

23 June, 2004

Caritas Delivers Relief Supplies to Darfur, Sudan

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, the Catholic agency for justice, peace and development commends the government for its further contribution of $NZ1 million to assist with the current refugee crises in Sudan.

The aid will be gratefully received as the region struggles to cope with the magnitude of the situation. To date there are over 1 million displaced persons within Darfur and nearly 200,000 refugees who had fled over the border into Chad to escape from the Janjaweed militias.

Caritas has joined together with Action by Churches Together (ACT) to respond to the ongoing humanitarian emergency. The joint ecumenical response will be known as the ACT/Caritas Darfur Emergency Response (ACDER).

A plane containing food supplies, emergency shelter equipment and vehicles recently arrived in Southern Darfur, from there the supplies will be transported to nearby camps. The estimated number of beneficiaries will be in excess of 125,000 people, mainly in Mershing and Ta’asha in South Darfur and Zalingi in West Darfur.

It is a race against time as the rainy season, which has already started in some parts of Southern Darfur, will render many areas inaccessible; cutting off vital supplies of food and water. There is also the increased risk of outbreaks of diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea and cholera.

"The latest reports predict the possibility of 1 million deaths from starvation if we do not act now. All of the UN organisations report a lack of funding. We urge all governments to realise the seriousness of the situation and commit funds to ensure as many lives as possible are saved," said Duncan MacLaren, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis.

Caritas is working to provide food, shelter, clean water and sanitation, health care and education for people living in the displaced camps. It is also working with around 10,000 villagers who have returned home to 23 villages in Ta’asha district. All 23 villages were burnt down in militia attacks. Caritas will be providing them food supplies together with seeds and tools that are urgently needed in order that they do not miss the planting season starting now.

All of this goes alongside the work of Caritas in Chad where there are 200,000 refugees in camps on the border. Caritas is managing three of the six major camps.

To make a donation to the Caritas Sudan Refugee Appeal please phone 0900 4 11 11

ENDS

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