Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


NZers asked to dig deep for Darfur

28 November 2006

Kiwi Aid Worker asks New Zealanders to dig deep to help fleeing Darfur refugees

- ChildFund NZ Launches Darfur Emergency Appeal -

A United Nations report released last week on Darfur said the number of people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance now stands at 4 million people. This has doubled since the start of 2005. Jan England, United Nations Emergency Relief Co-ordinator stated the refugees “…are dependent on international assistance to survive the future. There is no economy…There is nothing to sustain them except the international lifeline”.

A Kiwi working for international aid agency ChildFund in the African nation of Chad says the flood of Darfur refugees fleeing across the border from Sudan to escape violence is stretching already scarce resources and the situation is desperate.

Levin woman Maureen Duffy, who is working for ChildFund in Chad, was in the Koungoungou refugee camp last week when a wave of new refugees arrived on the back of trucks carrying what few possessions they had left. She describes the influx as putting extra stress on an already strained environment.

The refugee group is just a snapshot of the hundreds, if not thousands, of new refugees who continue to pour over the border into Chad daily and need immediate aid and support.

ChildFund New Zealand has today launched an emergency appeal for the people of Darfur, asking New Zealanders to donate money to help support the work being done by Maureen and the many other ChildFund workers who are providing life saving assistance in very difficult circumstances. The temperature is now dropping to below 5°C and is accompanied by fierce winds that means many of the refugees are in urgent need of warm clothes and blankets along with food, shelter and medical care.

Maureen’s most recent communication describes the ‘processing’ of the refugees:

“When they arrive they are ‘processed’ by registering them and issuing them with a refugee card which determines how much food and other items they are entitled to. Children are then immunised, medical treatment provided where needed and then food and other materials are given. It is heart wrenching to see these people arriving with almost nothing, having to leave their entire livelihoods behind them. The camps are now stretched to their limits and resources are very scarce. There were already 12,000 people in Camp Koungounou, before the trucks began arriving.”

Maureen described the sight of an elderly woman who had lost both her feet and hands to leprosy and was looking after two small children whose parents had been killed.

“These sights are the hardest. The elderly and young children who are turning up have lost everything, been terrified, thrown out of their homes and forced to escape across the border to survive.”

On a practical front, Maureen says hygiene is a big issue in the camps. ChildFund is providing soap and containers for the refugee children to wash themselves before entering the camps but she says the cold and their weak state makes this difficult.

“Many of the younger children have sores because they are not washing properly due to the lack of water; we are working hard to educate them about the need for basic hygiene and providing facilities for this.”

Another key focus for ChildFund is providing blankets. Many refugees have arrived with hardly any clothes at all except those on their back. Most of their clothing is completely inadequate for the conditions.

“Today I saw a little girl who turned up with hardly any clothes. The instructors found some old material to tie around her shoulders to keep her warm. There is just nothing left to offer these children.”

Children remain the most vulnerable. Many have either lost one or both parents, or have been separated from their parents or care givers as they have fled Darfur. They are now forced to fend for themselves.

“Today was a hard day. I met a child who was severely vulnerable. He couldn’t walk or talk, and wasn’t aware of his surroundings. My heart broke. All I could do was hug this little boy as there was such little hope for him.”

As the situation deteriorates ChildFund comes across cases of children being chained or locked up as the families can’t care for them, or need to leave the camp to look for food and firewood. Without international assistance families are forced further and further away from the safety of the camps to look for scarce food, water and firewood.

ChildFund National Director Paul Brown is calling on Kiwis to help ChildFund make a difference to the lives of the refugees already in camps and the many more who continue to arrive every day as the situation deteriorates. “Darfur refugees, especially the children, are incredibly vulnerable and we need the help of caring Kiwis urgently to provide life saving assistance. Every dollar donated will literally mean the difference between life and death.”

ChildFund has today launched an emergency appeal and is calling on all New Zealanders to help fund the immediate assistance that is needed so urgently by the Darfur refugees by calling 0800 223 111 to make a donation or visiting www.childfund.org.nz to donate online.

About ChildFund New Zealand

There are 12 international refugee camps in Chad, accommodating around a quarter of a million Sudanese refugees. ChildFund has programmes in the four largest camps where aid workers like Maureen work to protect and support children caught up in this crisis.

ChildFund New Zealand is an international child development organisation which works in 54 countries, assisting 11.4 million children and family members regardless of race, creed or gender.

ChildFund New Zealand, a member of ChildFund International, works for the well-being of children by supporting locally-led initiatives that strengthen families and communities, helping them overcome poverty and protect the rights of their children.

ChildFund's comprehensive programs incorporate health, education, nutrition and livelihood interventions that sustainably protect, nurture and develop children. ChildFund works in any environment where poverty, conflict and disaster threaten the well-being of children.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>

ALSO:

Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news