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Saturday, March 25, 2017
SCIAF in Darfur
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¬†A representative from SCIAF, (Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund) has just returned from crisis-hit Darfur in Western Sudan. Margaret Ann McShane, SCIAF Communications Officer, was part of an international delegation from Caritas Internationalis and ACT (Action by Churches Together). The representatives from across Europe visited Darfur to show support for the emergency response staff working in the region. It also presented an opportunity to see the situation and report back to their members. Alistair Dutton, ACT/Caritas Emergency Programme Manager, emphasised the urgency of the situation: "The population in the refugee camps are very fragile but the trigger point for the crisis in Darfur will be the rains. Currently people can sleep outside but once the rains begin this will change, sparking a massive health crisis. The UN has estimated that at least 300,000 people will die by the end of the year." ACT/Caritas is responding to the crisis with local partners, the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC), Sudo and Sudanaid. They have already built schools, clinics, latrines and bore holes in a number of camps, as well as distributing plastic sheeting to provide protection from the rains. Margaret Ann said: "It was inspiring to witness the dedication of the field staff in Nyala. Their determination and commitment are helping to transform the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in Darfur. "The ACT/Caritas team are focusing on health care and water and sanitation. From speaking to people in the camps, it was obvious that these essential resources will make a massive difference to their lives. Mothers brought their sick children to us, begging for medicine. Men stressed the importance of receiving mosquito nets. "Latrines are also vital to safeguard the health of the thousands of men, women and children sheltering in the camps. The rains have already started, increasing the risk of water-borne infections like cholera. "Generous Scots have already donated over £300,000 which will help to save the lives of some of the vulnerable people caught up in this awful conflict." To make a donation please call SCIAF on 0845 456 0018.
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