World Vision Expands Darfur Operations; Has No Intention of Leaving

( [email protected] ) Aug 06, 2007 07:07 AM EDT

World Vision is expanding its operation in Darfur, Sudan, to cater to the influx of new people, and its spokeswoman has expressed the Christian aid agency’s commitment to stay in the war-ravaged region.

Rose Kimeu of World Vision said the ministry had no intention of leaving and that their commitment was a great testimony to the victims there. She urged believers to pray for their protection and their works as they expand the organization’s 22 food distribution sites to 38.

“We ourselves are the hands and feet of Jesus. We really urge the listeners to pray for us and to pray for our staff that God would protect them, that God will enable them to show the love of Jesus through what they do,” Kimeu said.

The World Vision spokeswoman also said that despite the “heart-breaking” stories they have heard and reported attacks on their staff, the Christian ministry still remains grateful.

"We are grateful that God has given us the opportunity to be able to show the people of Darfur the love of Christ,” she said. “Every day our staff risks their lives as they go out to the community. We've had many attacks on our cars and on our staff."

More than the trials faced by the World Vision staff, Kimeu painted the grim picture facing the refugees there. She said every day people were being displaced, and that more people were dying with women and children being caught up in the fighting.

Putting this bleak reality into a statistical term, she said World Vision estimates that at least four million people are in desperate need of humanitarian support.

“They're in need of either food support, water, health service, or nutritious food for the children,” the spokeswoman added. “And then, we have two million that have been forced to flee for their lives, and that number is increasing. So far we know that at least 200,000 people have died."

Kimeu is calling on all people to make a donation, saying that each donation can help save a life.

Recently, the United Nations issued a new resolution to send 26,000 U.N. peacekeepers to the region, giving new impetus to peace efforts, and on Saturday, the leaders of Darfur’s rebel groups took part in landmark peace talks in Tanzania for the first time in over a year.

Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development and social service organizations working in over 200 countries and territories, welcomed last Tuesday’s U.N. resolution , saying the force would “provide vital security to civilians and aid workers caught up in the conflict there.”

Caritas has been at work in Darfur since the outset of the crisis, partnering with the global alliance Action by Churches Together (ACT) International through a network of faith-based and Sudanese aid agencies in support of the millions affected by the conflict and forced to live in overcrowded camps. Their work there has included the provision of shelter, clean water and sanitation, the construction of health clinics and schools.

Contributor Maria Mackay in London contributed to this report.