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New Zealanders to assist relief effort in Darfur

New Zealanders to assist relief effort in Darfur

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand and Christian World Service

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand and Christian World Service (CWS) are sending three New Zealanders to Darfur, Western Sudan to assist in humanitarian relief efforts where over 1 million people have been affected by violence from Janjaweed militias.

In June CWS’s international partner, Action by Churches Together (ACT) and Caritas joined forces to respond to the massive humanitarian crisis in Darfur. To date more than 1.2 million people have been forced from their homes, seeking refuge in desperately poor and under-resourced areas. This ecumenical response is known as the ACT/Caritas Darfur Emergency Response (ACDER) and is being supported in New Zealand by Caritas and CWS.

Caritas (0800 22 10 22) and CWS (0800 74 73 72) are running a public appeal for much needed aid and are sending three New Zealanders to assist with water supply and logistics in camps established for the displaced people.

Mark Mitchell, Derrick Depledge and Kate Zwartz will join the ACDER team who are working with the UN and other NGOs in refugee camps in the region. The ACDER team is currently responsible for three camps in Mershing in West Darfur and Zalingi in West Darfur. They are also working with around 10,000 villagers in Ta’asha district who have returned home to their villages which were burnt down in militia attacks.

Depledge and Zwartz will be working as water and sanitation engineers, helping build water supplies and sanitation facilities. With the camps providing refuge for thousands of people, adequate water and sanitation facilities are paramount in preventing outbreaks of malaria, diarrhoea and cholera.

Mitchell will join the team as a logistician, responsible for ensuring food and building supplies are moved safely from warehouses to where they are needed and for ensuring vehicles, radios and other equipment needed for the relief effort are available and kept in working order.

The team have been recruited with the assistance of the Register of Engineers for Disaster Relief, RedR NZ. Mitchell and Zwartz have extensive work experience in the African region and Depledge has a long history of humanitarian relief work.

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