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Saturday, February 25, 2017
CAFOD's Sudan appeal tops £1m
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¬†Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, has praised the compassion of people who have donated more than £1m to CAFOD's emergency Sudan appeal. The £1m mark was reached within seven weeks of the launch of the appeal to help hundreds of thousands of people displaced by conflict in Darfur, western Sudan. The Cardinal said: "My warm thanks go to all those in this country whose response to the suffering of thousands of people in Sudan during this deepening crisis is a true demonstration of Christian love. Through CAFOD, we are all able to extend an arm of comfort and relief to our fellow humans in a time of great need." The money raised will help to provide support to 500,000 of the 1.5m people who have been displaced into camps, or living near their burned-out villages, or who are acting as host communities, in southern and western Darfur. It will provide basic shelters, sufficient clean and safe water, mosquito nets, blankets and essential kitchen utensils, supplementary food for 50,000 children under five primary health care, education services for school-aged children, assistance in rebuilding livelihoods through the provision of seeds and tools. CAFOD's Fiona Callister, who returned from Sudan last Friday reports the threat of heavy rains and further violent attacks from militias are making relief efforts even more critical. "There are scores of people still entering camps and as the rainy season gets a hold access to these camps is going to get more and more difficult for aid workers. The rains have already started and in the next few weeks roads will be swept away rendering many areas inaccessible." Fiona said people were living in makeshift camps with little or no drainage and sanitation: "Once the rains start in earnest there is a risk of camps being flooded and epidemics of waterborne diseases are possible." "People are arriving with nothing. They fled their villages with a seconds notice, perhaps grabbing a cooking pot and a couple of bowls at most." While the refugees have so far been safe from attack within the boundaries of their camps, there are frequent attacks by militias when they venture outside to gather firewood or seek work. Fiona said: "One group of 40 or 50 women I spoke to said half of them had been attacked when they ventured outside the camp to fetch firewood. People are incredibly scared. They have lost everything. Their villages have been attacked several times,they've managed to flee to a camp and they still don't feel totally secure." CAFOD is co-leading with Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) in a joint response between Action by Churches Together International (ACT) and CARITAS Internationalis (CI), the first time these two networks have worked on a joint emergency response. Their joint Special Operations Appeal aims to raise just under US$20m (£11m).
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