Aid worker tells of horrors in Sudan

 CAFOD aid worker Tamsin Walters has recently returned from Sudan, currently the scene of the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Tamsin, 32, is the emergencies officer for health and nutrition for the Catholic Aid Agency. She has been working to help the thousands of people forced from their villages due to the ongoing conflict in the Darfur region in western Sudan. She said: "We have to get programmes up and running now - time is running out for the people of Darfur. With continuing attacks by rebels, lack of food, water and sanitation and with temperatures of up to 50 degrees plus we are anticipating high levels of death." Tamsin has worked on emergencies around the world, including Eritrea, Zimbabwe and Iraq, and says the spiralling crisis in Darfur is one of the worst situations she has witnessed. "The water shortage is so bad people are queuing at the few pumps for up to 10 hours. There is barely enough water to drink let alone wash and with few latrines and the cramped conditions in the towns and camps, health risks are enormous. Many children have died from a measles epidemic, which is now under control. But they are traumatised and food shortages and disease have left the very young with severe malnutrition." Tamsin is due to return to Sudan in a few weeks time. In the meantime a plane load of aid sent by CAFOD's partners Norwegian Church Aid arrived on Sunday. A second plane chartered by CAFOD will leave this Friday (25 June) packed with tents, plastic sheeting and rough terrain vehicles. On the ground, CAFOD staff have been delivering aid to villages in the south, one of the last places to be reached by aid workers. She said: "It's so important to reach these people fast. The situation is devastating now and this is before the rains come. When the rains hit in early July whole communities will be cut off from the outside world we must get to them before they are isolated." The Darfur conflict began early last year after two local rebel groups took up arms against the government of Sudan, claiming that the region was being neglected by Khartoum. While there has been a ceasefire between government and rebel forces in place since 8 April, sporadic fighting has continued. There are now around 1.2 million people who have been displaced from the region by the conflict and a wider campaign of looting, killing and rape by a militia known as the Janjaweed. To support CAFOD's work call the donation hotline on 0500 85 88 85 or log on to

Share this story