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Situation in Darfur and Chad Remains Critical

Humanitarian situation in Darfur and Chad remains critical, warns Oxfam

Despite international attention and visits by foreign dignitaries the humanitarian situation in Darfur, Sudan and eastern Chad remains critical, warns international aid agency Oxfam today.

The onset of the rainy season has contributed to the deterioration of public health, with high rates of malnutrition, bloody diarrhoea, and waterborne diseases such as hepatitis E reported throughout Darfur. The threat of cholera or malaria epidemics is a critical concern, as displaced people continue to arrive at already overcrowded sites with limited water and sanitation facilities.

“The scale of this disaster is immense,” explains Barry Coates, Executive Director, Oxfam New Zealand. “People are still arriving daily at camps throughout Darfur and Chad and putting more strain on an already overstretched infrastructure.”

Thousands of people have recently arrived at Kalma, a camp of over 70,000 displaced people in South Darfur. Many of them are desperate and pleading for help.

“I met a group of families from Silia who said they haven’t received any assistance since coming to Kalma several weeks ago,” says Adrian McIntyre, an Oxfam aid worker in Darfur. “They are drinking contaminated water from the nearby wadi – which is also serving as an open-air toilet for hundreds of people. It is making them sick, but there simply isn’t enough clean water available.”

Continued insecurity plagues the region, with reports of women being regularly subjected to extreme forms of harassment and violence, including beating, abduction and gang rape.

“Time is running out for desperate people in Darfur and Chad. Despite visits from international politicians, the situation remains critical. Now is the time to act. The international community has a moral obligation to do everything possible to end this conflict and alleviate the suffering that has resulted from it. There have been some strong statements by our government and others, but little has yet been done to stop the violence and provide the security that would allow refugees to return to their homes,” said Coates.

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