|Children at a UNICEF-supported school in Kass, South Darfur, greet Bellamy|
DARFUR, 14 June 2004 – UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy has arrived in Sudan’s Darfur region to reinforce international support for more than a million vulnerable people.
She began her three day visit in Nayla, the capital of Darfur. She then travelled to a camp for displaced people in Kass where she met families who have been forced to abandon their homes in recent months. Around 30,000 people have taken refuge in the town – doubling its normal population. They are staying in school compounds and other shelters until new accommodations can be found for them.
“There is clearly a major need, if they are going to move, for shelter and water and sanitation in this new location. So we all have to pitch in. The government has got to lead but we all have to pitch in,” she said after meeting some of the people in Kass.
UNICEF is supporting a temporary school in Kass and has set up classrooms for thousands of other children across the region. With the World Health Organization and the Sudanese Ministry of Health, UNICEF is also organizing a major immunization drive to protect more than two million children against measles.
Ms. Bellamy said she was concerned that there were so few agencies working on the ground.
“I seldom recall coming to a place with this expansion of internally displaced people, to see so little going on. There are almost no NGOs. I understand it’s not their fault – it’s hard to get in. We in the UN have to work with NGOs, so the limited number of partners is a real problem for all of us.”
|Bellamy speaks with a woman in a temporary classroom in Kass, South Darfur|
Darfur’s displaced people have fled terror attacks by armed militia that included killings, abductions, gang rapes, looting, the burning of villages and the stealing of cattle. An additional 180,000 people, primarily children and women, have fled across the border into neighbouring Chad.
UNICEF is also working to supply safe water to hundreds of thousands of people at grave risk in the harsh landscape of Darfur and Chad – repairing hundreds of water pumps and drilling new boreholes. UNICEF and its partners are also providing protection for separated children and victims of gender-based violence. The organization has appealed for US $46 million for its work in Chad and Darfur through the rest of this year.
During her stay, Bellamy is also travelling in West Darfur, visiting several camps for displaced people as well as meeting with local chiefs and partner aid agencies. In Khartoum, the capital, she will meet with government officials, UNICEF staff, other UN agencies, and with international and national media.
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