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Militia Terror Attacks Continue Say Aid Workers

Sudan: Militia terror attacks continue say aid workers

World Vision relief workers report increasing numbers of refugees pouring into already swollen camps as militia terror attacks continue in Darfur, western Sudan.

Their stories of rape, murder and displacement at the hands of the Janjaweed militia dominate conversations. Some say attacks occurred only a week ago.

The reports come after New Zealanders' contribution to World Vision New Zealand's appeal to assist victims of the Darfur crisis reached NZ$400,000 today.

Meanwhile the head of World Vision Australia Tim Costello, who visited Darfur this week, said refugees were in a state of fear as well as suffering extreme physical deprivation.

"Nothing prepares you for the heat, the flies, and the raw mass of human suffering," he said.

"The first women I met was cooking porridge for her five children. She told me her husband was killed and it took her 10 days to travel to Kalma [refugee camp]. She does not consider going back to her village ? it's just too dangerous."

"The people you talk to are desperately afraid. You see terror in their faces," he said.

Mr Costello made the comments after visiting Kalma camp in southern Darfur where about 70,000 refugees are gathered. Aid workers fear an outbreak of water-borne disease in the unsanitary conditions, particularly with the onset of the rainy season.

He said refugees attempted to shelter as best they could under plastic sheets distributed by World Vision and other aid agencies.

Mr Costello said most of the displaced are subsistence farmers and are supposed to be planting their crops.

"The rainy season has started and now it's too late. There will be no food next season, which compounds the already existing humanitarian tragedy," he said.

An estimated 1.25 million people are in urgent need of food, medical attention and other basic supplies after fleeing their homes to escape the Janjaweed. World Vision has so far flown in supplies of plastic sheeting, blankets, mosquito nets and jerry cans to them.

The agency has also nailed down an agreement with the World Food Programme (WFP) to deliver food aid to the value of US$7 million.

To contribute to World Vision's Sudan appeal phone: 0800 90 10 10 or visit the website www.worldvision.org.nz


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