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World Vision Team Finds Great Needs In Darfur

Sudan: World Vision Team Finds Great Needs In Darfur

World Vision has carried out a preliminary assessment of Darfur, western Sudan, to address the humanitarian needs of thousands of displaced people in the region.

The team set out to explore the possibility of setting up programmes in southern and western Darfur.

Team member Ashraf Yacoub says there are 40,000 displaced people in the town of Kass alone, and more in nearby villages.

He said refugees he had spoken to have minimal supplies, were living in dire conditions and worried about the whereabouts of relatives - not seen since violence in their home villages tore families apart.

One he spoke to - Fatima Ali Zayed - is a 22-year-old mother of three who escaped to Kass when her village was burnt to the ground four months ago. She has not seen or heard from her husband since.

In Kass she constructed a flimsy hut made of tree branches and grass ? insufficient to protect her family from the onset of the rainy season.

The family of four owns a straw mat, a jerry can, and minimal clothing.

Mr Yacoub said despite their need, the only thing Fatima asked for was a plastic sheet to protect her family from the weather.

Another refugee, Ashia Adam, 25, and her three children fled from their village Kureleh, fearing for their lives when it was attacked and burnt down.

Salima Youssef, her seven-year-old daughter wishes to go to school this year, and asked for a notebook.

In Dibis, a village 12km from Kass, almost half of the 1,300 inhabitants fled to other areas after their houses were looted and school destroyed. Those who stayed behind live in constant fear due to the insecurity.

"The security situation in Dibis is not improving ? burnt villages are everywhere to be seen around Kass," Mr Yacoub said.

A prolonged terror-campaign by militias has caused the displacement of one million people in Darfur. About 180,000 of them have sought refuge in neighbouring Chad

World Vision has already commenced relief operations in Chad and sent emergency supplies to the region to assist Sudanese refugees. It also plans to run special protection programmes for refugee children.

World Vision New Zealand has so far contributed NZ$100,000 to the relief response and is urging New Zealanders to give generously to its Sudan Crisis Appeal.

New Zealander James Addis is on standby to go to Sudan. . To donate to World Vision's Sudan Crisis appeal phone: 0800 90 10 10 or go to http://www.worldvision.org.nz

ENDS

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