Sudan: how you can help

18 June 2004 | The Guardian

by Sarah Left

We provide a directory of charities coordinating aid to the African country hit by a humanitarian crisis the UN describes as the world’s worst.

One million people have fled fighting in Darfur, Sudan, triggering an urgent humanitarian crisis. Most of them remain displaced within the country, lacking food, clean water, sanitation and medical facilities. Approximately 180,000 refugees have escaped into neighbouring Chad.

The World Food Programme estimates that 1.8 million people in the region need food aid. With the rainy season about to begin, aid agencies have been racing to move food and other supplies, such as blankets and soap, to those displaced by the fighting.

Thousands of people are scattered along the desolate, 370-mile-long (600km) border with Chad, where inadequate roads will soon be washed out by rains.

The current crisis began in February 2003, when a rebel uprising was brutally suppressed by Arab militias. The militias have been accused of carrying out mass killings and rape. A ceasefire reached in April has not stopped them from attacking civilians and burning farms and villages to the ground.

Both the UN and the US have accused the Sudanese government of supporting the militias, a charge Khartoum denies.

The UN describes the situation in Darfur as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Aid agencies’ priorities

The following aid agencies are appealing for funds to assist people affected by the fighting in Sudan:

Action by Churches Together (Act) has appealed for $808,000 (?441,000) to assist more than 30,000 victims of the conflict in southern and western Darfur. Act said its assistance will include blankets, kitchen utensils, vegetable seeds for small gardens and some relief food, which will be provided under food-for-work programmes.

The British Red Cross has appealed for funds to pay for shelter and essential household items, such as blankets and kitchen utensils.

The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development is supporting the local Catholic organisation Secadev, which has set up and is running three refugee camps in Chad. Funds are also being used to support displaced people around Nyala, in south Darfur.

Care International has been working in Sudan since 1979. The charity says it is distributing food (sorghum, wheat, lentils, oil and salt) and non-food items, such as plastic sheeting, blankets and water canisters, to hundreds of thousands of Sudanese.

Médecins sans Frontières provides healthcare and vaccinations to displaced people in Sudan and refugees in Chad.

Oxfam is providing clean drinking water, building latrines and meeting the basic hygiene needs of displaced people within Sudan and refugees who have fled to neighbouring Chad.

Save the Children UK says it is delivering an integrated programme incorporating child protection, primary health care, nutrition, water and food aid.

Tearfund is seeking funds to dig wells and latrines and erect tents in the Breidjink refugee camp in eastern Chad. Tearfund’s disaster managment team is preparing to launch a health and nutrition programme in western Darfur.

The executive director of Unicef, Carol Bellamy, says, after a visit to Darfur, that the coming rainy season makes it “a race against time to provide children and their families with basic, life-saving services: clean water and sanitation, nutrition, shelter and health care”.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is urgently trying to move thousands of refugees away from the insecure Chad-Sudan border region and into camps in eastern Chad. The agency has relocated about 100,000 refugees thus far.

The World Food Programme is seeking $200m to feed 2 million people in Sudan until the end of the year, and another $30.5m to feed refugees in Chad.

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