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Suffering continues in Darfur, Sudan

Suffering continues in Darfur, Sudan

Suffering on a massive scale continues in Darfur, Oxfam warned today. 1.65 million people have been forced to flee their homes and are forced to live in camps or in makeshift shelters on the edge of towns, unable to return to their villages. 200,000 more have crossed the border into the remote, barren regions of eastern Chad.

“The world united to save lives in response to the natural disaster of the tsunami. However, people are dying needlessly because of other people's actions in Darfur, yet the world has responded with half measures and empty promises," said Barry Coates, Executive Director of Oxfam New Zealand. “We urgently need more action to stop the killings and human rights abuses, and we urgently need funding to provide a safe haven and basic necessities such as shelter, clean water and health care for those who have been forced from their homes.”

Each week thousands more people arrive in camps and villages across Darfur. There they join the hundreds of thousands already living in desperate conditions, many without access to clean water and sanitation, poor shelter and little food, in conditions ripe for malnutrition and disease.

Last week Oxfam began operations in Shangil Tobayi on the border between North and South Darfur. Within hours we received reports of fresh attacks 15 km to the South that reportedly left more than 100 dead. Within days families had begun to arrive in Shangil Tobayi having fled their homes.

Some camps are now enormous. In South Darfur, Kalma camp has now grown to more than 140,000 people – a camp larger than the population of Dunedin. In North Darfur, Abu Shouk camp has grown to over 90,000 people. Oxfam is helping 700,000 people in Darfur and across the border in Chad.

"The media coverage of the crisis in Darfur is in danger of sounding like yesterday’s emergency,” said Coates. “But it is a human tragedy on a massive scale. People are still being killed, still being forced to flee their homes, still suffering each and every day. In some cases, people who have already been driven from their homes once are being forced to move on again. The level of suffering that is still going on in Darfur is incredible.”

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