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Thursday, March 23, 2017
International appeal for Sudanese refugees launched
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¬†Caritas Internationalis, the worldwide network of Catholic relief and development agencies of which CAFOD is a member, has launched an urgent appeal to raise £900,000 for Sudanese refugees of the West Darfour crisis. Of an estimated total of one million people forced to flee their homes as a result of inter-ethnic fighting in the Darfour area of Sudan, around 150,000 refugees have poured into neighbouring Chad. Most have been taken in by border villages, and so are vulnerable to cross border attacks and not receiving any outside help. Around 30,000 refugees have moved to camps which are a safe distance from the border - and the number is fast rising. CAFOD's Chad partner SECADEV runs three camps which together house around 80% of the refugees currently in camps and workers are working hard to cope with new arrivals. Over four days, the Touloum camp in Northern Chad welcomed around 6,000 refugees, almost doubling the size of the camp. All the camps are in desert areas in which water is scarce and roads are poor. SECADEV Director General, Pierre Sou said: "The refugees waiting at the border are not receiving any food because of the fear of attracting militia raids from within Sudan. They are surviving at the moment through the outstanding generosity of villagers who have welcomed in huge numbers of refugees and shared their small supplies of food, scarce pastureland and limited water provision. "Now though supplies in those areas are running short so refugees have decided to make their own way to the camps." The money is urgently needed as the international aid community is facing a race against time to help the Sudanese refugees. At the end of May the rainy season starts in Chad which will sweep away many of the roads in the area making camps inaccessible. The United Nations estimates that around 7000 tonnes of food needs to be in place by that time, as some areas of Southern Chad will become inaccessible for up to six months. CAFOD spokeswoman Fiona Callister, who has just returned from Chad, said: "All the refugees I spoke to had fled their homes after attacks from the Janjaweed, taking virtually nothing with them. Many have spent months in makeshift camps in Sudan before deciding to escape to Chad. In those camps they received no help at all because fierce fighting has meant aid agencies are unable to reach them. "If the refugees are to make it through the coming months, the international community needs to act immediately. Already food supplies are short and water was rationed at one camp I visited. The rainy season threatens to cut off camps completely - on my journey out to the camps I passed several remnants of bridges swept away in previous downpours."
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