The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the government's overseas relief program, announced Tuesday, Aug. 31, that it has allocated the equivalent of $600,000 USD to World Vision to fight disease and help meet the basic needs of refugees in Darfur, Sudan. Meanwhile, World Vision is reportedly continuing in its relief efforts through food distribution and through setting up feeding stations.
"Lack of access to food, shelter, health, water and sanitation are the major concerns threatening the survival of displaced people and in particular malaria is one of the main causes of death," said World Vision's chief executive, Tim Costello.
Accodring to World Vision, the new funds will provide urgent help for thousands of internally displaced people in camps who are suffering or threatened by illness. World Vision will use $350,000 for humanitarian assistance and the remaining $250,000 for the Malaria Epidemic Response and Preparedness Project.
"This is a vital program that will help treat and protect some of the most vulnerable internally displaced people in the Darfur region -- women and children," said Costello.
The program will provide treatment and prevention of malaria and diarrhea diseases during the next four months.
Meanwhile, World Vision has begun large-scale distributions of monthly food rations to registered IDPs (internally displaced people) in South Darfur – starting in the region’s largest IDP camp, where no other food aid has reached IDPs for nearly two months.
A total of 7,757 (2,574 households) IDPs registered in Sector 1 of Kalma camp received food aid on Friday and Saturday. The 19 local and six expatriate staff of WV’s commodities team then extended the distributions to camp sectors 2 and 3 on Sunday, raising the total number of IDPs reached with food aid to 12,000 by Monday. Distribution in a second camp - Otash, on the outskirts of Nyala town - will begin on Wednesday.
“We have started to meet the needs of the population in a significant way. In a week’s time we will have distributed food to about 100,000 people,” said WV Commodities Manager Shewangezaw Lulie.
The Kalma camp is the largest in South Darfur, with over 83,000 people divided into seven administrative sectors. Food aid is World Vision’s biggest program in South Darfur, and as the main implementing partner of the World Food Program (WFP) we are expecting to distribute over 22,000 metric tones of food (valued at $14.9 million USD) to an estimated 250,000 IDPs by the end of October, security and logistics permitting.
Prior to starting the distributions in Kalma camp, newly hired local staff were trained to follow a new distribution system in which registered IDPs are grouped according to family size and allowed to share the food among themselves - a deviation from the commonly-used “scooping system”.
“The beneficiaries are very happy with the distribution method. They were surprised that there was no stampede or riot as experienced in this camp in the past,” Lulie said.
“We are happy and surprised. I came here ready to wait in the sun for hours but it took a short time and I received the food. I like this arrangement,” said Maburuka Abdallah, a mother of eight.
“This is the first food I received since I came here four months ago. I survived through support of my new neighbors and small jobs,” said Kaltum Mohammed. “It won’t be enough for month because new people are still arriving and we have to help them. But that’s how life is here.”
World Vision has also recently opened the first of five supplementary feeding centers planned for internally displaced people (IDPs) in South Darfur, Sudan.
The feeding center was built in one week, adjacent to a primary health care (PHC) clinic that World Vision also set up and opened two weeks ago in the densely populated IDP camp of Otash (with approximately 17,000 IDPs), on the outskirts of Nyala town, where World Vision has based its operations in South Darfur.
Both the feeding center and the PHC clinic were constructed by casual laborers from the Otash camp, with technical help from residents of Nyala town, using low-cost and for the most part locally gathered materials.
On its opening day, Monday, the feeding center distributed weekly rations to about 200 moderately malnourished children under five. The feeding center also provided food and iron supplements to about 20 pregnant and lactating mothers, which will directly benefit the nutritional status of their unborn infants and babies up to six months of age.
The supplementary feeding will continue every Monday, in addition to the general feeding that World Vision will start in Otash this Wednesday, covering the entire camp within a week after that. In addition, the PHC clinic in Otash continues to treat over IDP patients every day, primarily for malaria, malnutrition, diarrhea and respiratory infections.
Access to health care is a major concern of the IDPs. The nearest health facility is located in Nyala town, but IDPs have to pay for services, which cost more than most can afford.