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NZ child worker prepares to be evacuated from Chad

MEDIA RELEASE
5 December 2006


Kiwi relief worker prepares to be evacuated from Chad as Darfur situation deteriorates

A Kiwi ChildFund relief worker is preparing to be evacuated from the African nation of Chad as the security situation there deteriorates dramatically. The United Nations has recommended the evacuation of all NGOs in the face of heavy fighting between Chadian forces and armed rebels on the border with Darfur.

Levin woman Maureen Duffy, who is a Logistics Manager for ChildFund’s operation in Chad, crossed the border into Cameroon over the weekend because of safety concerns; she has since returned to the Chadian capital of N’Djamena but says the situation is very unpredictable. Maureen who has previously worked in war zones in Iraq and Bosnia, was devastated to be forced to leave so many children in desperate need.

ChildFund operates in four of the largest refugee camps in Chad near the Sudanese border with Darfur, but Maureen reports the fighting means they cannot currently get into the camps to complete their work helping the children in this humanitarian crisis.

ChildFund New Zealand last week launched an emergency appeal for Darfur and National Director Paul Brown says the current escalation in violence makes the appeal even more important:

“Sadly, the withdrawal of NGOs like ChildFund means the refugees will have to fend for themselves until the situation stabilises enough for the agencies to return to provide emergency aid. Considerable resources will be needed at that point to support those currently in the camps and what will no doubt be a fresh wave of refugees across the border. New Zealanders wanting to provide practical humanitarian assistance to help the 4 million people affected can make a donation to our emergency appeal by phoning 0800 223 111.”

The latest official update from the ChildFund operation in Chad says that three main towns were briefly taken and held by the rebels over the weekend, but recaptured by Chadian forces 24 hours later. The three major rebel movements are reported to be working together.

Donations can be made to ChildFund’s Darfur emergency appeal by calling 0800 223 111 or by visiting www.childfund.org.nz

ENDS


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