Over the last few days, 139 tons of relief items have been flown into South Darfur, Sudan by the Action by Churches Together (ACT) International and Caritas Internationalis joint humanitarian programme. More is on its way. The airlift started last week with a consignment of 94,680 sheets of plastic and 29,400 blankets - items considered lifesaving for the thousands of internally displaced people who have to spend another rainy season in crowded camps in south and west Darfur, both areas where the ACT/Caritas operation is responding. CAFOD is a leading member of the joint response. "It is one of our largest deliveries. Getting one plastic sheet and two blankets per family is a big operation," said Andrew Koech, the coordinator of the ACT/Caritas warehouse. Without the supplies, many families will have no protection against the torrential rain and as they become cold and wet, disease can take hold. Three more flights with medical supplies, mosquito nets and other non-food items are expected in the coming weeks. A first priority is to get the supplies to areas that will be cut off by rivers that swell to raging torrents at the height of the rainy season. "The non-food items will go directly to the camps where we work together with our partners, so that the items can be distributed before the rain sets in," said Koech. During the dry season, places like Kubum corridor west of Nyala can be reached by road within four hours. During the rainy season, it can take more than three days to reach the same destination. Many of the families ACT/Caritas are assisting are receiving non-food items for the second time, as they have been displaced for over a year. So far, more than 40,000 families have received their full compliment of non-food items. The UN estimates that 1.88 million people are currently displaced in Darfur and that some 2.73 million people have been affected by the two-year-long civil war. In an ACT/Caritas relief parcel each family receives: one plastic sheet, three plastic mats, one mosquito net, two blankets, one cooking set (which is only distributed once), two jerry cans, ten pieces of soap. Source: CAFOD
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