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First Member of NZ Team Leaves for Darfur

Monday 26 July, 2004

First Member of NZ Team Leaves for Darfur

The first person of the three member team sent to Darfur by Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand and Christian World Service (CWS) leaves tomorrow.

Wellington-based, Mark Mitchell will join an international team already on the ground in Darfur, Western Sudan. The team is made up from members of CWS’s international partner Action by Churches Together and the Caritas Internationalis confederation. This ecumenical response is known as the ACT/Caritas Darfur Emergency Response (ACDER).

Mr Mitchell will fly out of Wellington tomorrow at 2.15pm and is scheduled to arrive in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum on Wednesday. From there he will travel to the ACDER camps in Darfur to take up his position as a logistician.

He will be responsible for the movement of food, water and building supplies to where they are needed and for ensuring vehicles, radios and other equipment needed for the relief effort are available and kept in good working order.

“I am anticipating an extremely difficult situation and with the rainy season, logistics will be a bit of a nightmare. I hope to be able to build on the previous experiences I have had in a number of difficult situations around the world to help these people,” said Mr Mitchell.

In what has been described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, thousands of people have died and at least 1.2 million people in Darfur, Western Sudan have fled their homes following attacks from the Janjaweed militias. Working with the UN and other NGOs in the area, the ACDER team are responsible for providing food, shelter, clean water, sanitation and health care to over 125,000 people in three camps.

Caritas and CWS commend the governments of New Zealand and Australia for the joint statement issued this morning regarding the situation in Darfur.

Caritas (0800 22 10 22) and CWS (0800 74 73 72) are running a national appeal to provide relief and to alleviate suffering in Darfur.


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