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CRS Urges U.S. to Aid Sudan and Chad

( [email protected] ) May 08, 2004 10:34 AM EDT

Catholic Relief Service is urging the U.S. to offer more food and humanitarian supplies as the rainy season is drawing near in Chad and humanitarian groups to participate in providing adequate water sources for camps in Sudanese refugees and resolving the conflict in the Darfar region.

“From an operational standpoint, the greatest need over the next four weeks is effective collaboration among UN partners and the immediate, organized mobilization of our resources so that, should roads become impassable when the rains come, food and supplies will be within reach of refugees,” said Kevin Hartigan, CRS regional director for Central Africa. “There already has been considerable tension in the Kounoungou refugee camp due to inadequate food supplies, preventing relief workers from entering camps on some days. Further food shortages could be disastrous.”

According to CRS, at least 2,700 tons of food is needed for at least 60,000 refugees over three months. Because of the war, the number of refugees is growing day by day and they are in great need of more food and adequate water supply.

Touloum camp was originally set up to accommodate 6,000 refugees; as of May 3, SECADEV put the total camp population at 11,874. Inadequate water supply is an urgent concern and a growing health threat.

CRS is also urging the U.S. government and the international community to participate in ending the bloody conflict and to push for more humanitarian aid for Sudanese refugees. CRS said the root causes of the conflict must be observed in order to bring peace in the region.

“We strongly encourage members of the international community to take a greater, more influential and vocal part in facilitating genuine and durable peace negotiations,” said Hartigan.

In a written statement CRS expressed specifically what needs to be done to help Sudan and Chad. It addressed that:

· The UNHCR provide effective coordination and mobilization of resources so that sufficient food and other essential supplies are positioned at refugee camps before the rainy season, and that adequate water sources are found and protected;

· International donors respond quickly and generously to UNHCR appeals for funds to assist as many as 110,000 Sudanese refugees in Chad;

· The U.S. government and the international community push for genuine and internationally-observed peace negotiations and a lasting settlement of the conflict in Darfur;

· The Government of Sudan provide unimpeded humanitarian access to vulnerable populations in Darfur, and protection of humanitarian workers and supplies.

Catholic Relief Services, founded 60 years agao, is an international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic community that provides assistance to people in 94 countries and territories on the basis of need, regardless of race, creed or nationality.