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Sudan: UN Asks For $115 Million To Help Displaced


Sudan: UN Asks For $115 Million To Help Internally Displaced Within Darfur

The United Nations is calling for donors to provide $115 million to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Sudan's Darfur region, revising its earlier appeal for help for the more than 700,000 people estimated to have become uprooted from their homes because of civil conflict and an ethnic cleansing campaign against black Africans.

In a statement issued in Geneva, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said funds raised will go to a range of programmes, including schemes to provide food aid, health care, agricultural assistance and relief supplies.

The new amount replaces last September's Greater Darfur Special Initiative, when $23 million was requested. Since then the number of Sudanese who are internally displaced has continued to increase.

UN agencies have estimated that at least 700,000 Sudanese have had to leave their homes since fighting erupted in Darfur early last year between the Sudanese Government, allied militias and rebel groups. Tens of thousands of refugees have fled into neighbouring Chad.

Earlier this month the UN launched a fresh appeal for Sudanese refugees in Chad, asking for more than $30 million to cover their needs for the year.

The agencies say they have been unable to help more than a third of those people displaced within Darfur because of the lack of security and the difficulties in obtaining travel permits across the region.

On Thursday in N'Djamena, the Chadian capital, the Sudanese Government and two rebel groups - the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) - signed a humanitarian ceasefire agreement.

The deal came a week after Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, told reporters that a coordinated, "scorched-earth" campaign of ethnic cleansing was taking place in Darfur.

Mr. Egeland said UN and NGO staff have received credible reports almost daily about atrocities - including murders, rapes and episodes of looting - and the forced depopulation of entire areas.

The envoy said the reports indicated the Janjaweed militias were mainly responsible for the atrocities and the victims were Darfur's black Africans, especially members of its Fur, Zaghawas and Massalit ethnic communities.

Mr. Egeland is expected to visit Darfur later this month. A fact-finding mission sent by the Office for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is currently in Chad, interviewing Sudanese refugees who have taken shelter in the country's east.

A situation report from Darfur, released today by UN humanitarian agencies, shows that many villagers say that Janjaweed militia members have committed murders, rapes, beatings and many acts of looting in recent months.

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