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World Vision Prepares for Launching of Relief Initiatives in Sudan

( [email protected] ) Aug 07, 2004 05:38 PM EDT

World Vision is preparing to launch several initiatives to respond Sudan’s humanitarian crisis, aiming to provide food and non-food items to some of the million displaced refugees while looking ahead to long-term projects to help them rebuild their lives.

The two most recent initiatives World Vision is involved in developing is a 5-month food aid program targeting displaced villagers currently residing in Sudan camps and a blanket supplementary feeding program to assist the 100,000 refugees in Chad.

World Vision will work in collaboration with the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) to start food distributions in and around Nyala this month, reported an August 6 news release. Over a five-month periods, World Vision plans to distribute a total of 22,400 MT of food to 250,000 beneficiaries, mainly focusing on the 73,000 vulnerable people in Kalma Camp just outside Nyala, and to 40,000 displaced people around Nyala town. The program will distribute food rations of cereals, pulses, oil, corn soya blend, and salt.

“Kalma camp is barely liveable right now. There isn’t enough clean water. Sanitation is almost non-existent. Many of the children appear to be very sick and malnourished,” said World Vision’s emergency health specialist Dr Mesfin Teklu.

World Vision Program Director in Khartoum, has noted obstacles in their humanitarian effort.

Ian Ridley says that delayed access, ongoing insecurity, and rains are making it exceedingly difficult for humanitarian aid to reach the people in need.

World Vision is also responding to malnutrition problems for 60,000 children under five-years-of age, pregnant and lactating women in all 11 refugee camps in north-eastern Chad.

“There is a higher than normal percentage of children under five in this relief situation. Generally, there about 20 per cent of children under five in refugee settings, however in this case it is 27 per cent,” said Emergency Officer, Nick Wasunna.

According to World Vision, the ‘Blanket feeding’ ensures the most vulnerable receive sugar, vegetable oil and ‘corn soy blend’, which is pre-mixed to make a nutritious porridge-like meal.

Sudanese refugees have been fleeing to Chad since August 2003.

Wasunna continued, “Due to the previous erratic food supply, people’s nutritional needs were not being met. World Vision is addressing that need by giving additional rations to boost nutritional status in these vulnerable groups. It is like receiving a side-dish to your main meal.

Blanket feeding ensures everyone receives food rations, regardless of refugee status. The program is a response to the alarming rate of malnutrition among children and women,” Wasunna explained.

Child Protection Co-ordinator, Ahna Burke said that children who are not at high risk for malnutrition will participate in children activities while they wait for their family to receive the bi-monthly food rations.

World Vision is negotiating with the overall relief co-ordinating body, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; supplier of food, the World Food Programme; the UN’s children’s fund, UNICEF; and other humanitarian aid agencies to implement the "blanket feeding program."

The organization has been able to deliver 10,000 mosquito nets paid for by private donors and another 41 tons of cargo consisting of plastic sheeting, blankets, and jerry cans for water, made possible by OFDA (Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance) in a project launched on August 1 and is expected to contniue until January 2005.

In the survival kit project, World Vision's goal is to distribute 3,000 kits, 2,000 mosquito nets, 2,500 blankets and 2,500 fishing equipment, which will benefit a total of 4,250 households, or 25,500 beneficiaries in Bahr-el-Ghazal, Upper Nile and Nuba Mountain regions of Southern Sudan.