The UK’s leading international aid charities have joined forces to launch an emergency appeal today (24th May 2007) to save lives in Darfur, Chad and the Central African Republic.
With 4.5 million people affected by the ongoing conflict, the looming rains are bringing the risk of deadly conditions like diarrhoea and malaria, especially for children, pregnant mothers and the elderly.
With malnutrition levels already rising in some areas, aid agencies are appealing for vital help to respond to the rapidly growing crisis.
Aid agencies also need to bolster life-saving food and medicine stocks before the downpours hit any time within the next 4 weeks.
The gathering storms will also make the delivery of aid a much more difficult task, with vehicle tracks disappearing and swollen rivers becoming all but impossible to cross – meaning help needs to arrive as soon as possible.
Brendan Gormley, Chief Executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee said: “We are seeing one of the greatest concentrations of human suffering right now in Darfur and Chad and the impending rains will make the situation even worse. The money raised by the British public in 2004 saved thousands of lives and we desperately need your help again.
“We have been keeping people alive but access is already severely hampered by conflict and the rains will make it much harder for us to respond if we don’t act now.
“The fact that the UK’s leading agencies have come together to appeal shows the severity of the situation. Charities are working tirelessly in the region, with your help, they can literally save thousands more lives. We need to act urgently- please do give generously.”
With violence in the region escalating, many villages are burnt out shells and two-thirds of the population in Darfur are dependent on aid. Money raised by this appeal will help people affected by the conflict, giving shelter, clean water and sanitation, emergency food and vital items such as water buckets, blankets and soap and enable medical teams to provide emergency care.
- More than two million people, nearly one in three of Darfur’s population have been forced to flee for their lives into camps. Approximately 107,000 civilians were newly displaced by insecurity and fighting between 1 January and 1 April this year.
- Four million people in Darfur, two-thirds of the population, are dependent on humanitarian aid for their survival.
- 147,000 people are internally displaced in Chad and some 232,000 refugees have fled from Darfur into Chad since the crisis began in 2003.
- Access during the rainy season can be extremely difficult due to the flash flooding and swollen waddies.
- It is really important to preposition food and supplies such as cement, as once the rains come it is almost impossible to move these goods around.
- In Chad the water table rises to within ½ metre of the surface, meaning that latrine design has to take account of that, making them more shallow and in need of constant repair.