|UNICEF UK Ambassador for Humanitarian Emergencies Martin Bell with children in Nyala, southern Darfur.|
KHARTOUM/DARFUR, 3 August 2004 – Former BBC correspondent and current Ambassador for Humanitarian Emergencies for UNICEF UK Martin Bell visited the Darfur region to document the deteriorating humanitarian situation and highlight UNICEF’s work in the area.
Mr. Bell was travelling with a delegation from UNICEF, which included astronaut and UNICEF Belgium Goodwill Ambassador Frank De Winne; Director General of UNICEF Belgium Christian Wiener; UNICEF Spain Goodwill Ambassador Silvia Abascal Estrada; and Executive Director of UNICEF UK David Bull.
The delegation visited displaced Darfurians in the south, including those in the town of Kass, which is currently host to nearly 42,000 refugees. The displaced people fled their homes after brutal attacks by the Janjaweed militia. Mr. Bell reported that there are now more refugees in Kass than townspeople.
|View of camp (known as Dreig or Otash) on edge of|
The purpose of the mission was to bring support and encouragement to the UNICEF teams on-site and to help draw the world’s attention to the humanitarian crisis in Darfur – in particular to plight of the children.
UNICEF, along with its partners, is providing educational kits, medicines and materials for constructing shelters to the 1.2 million Darfurians who have been forced to flee their homes. Mr. Bell reported today from Khartoum that the children, women and men are terrified by the idea of returning to their villages, many of which have been entirely destroyed by the militia.
Mr. Bell has covered many wars as a correspondent, including Vietnam, El Salvador, the Gulf war and the civil wars in Bosnia. He is an award-winning journalist and author who first became involved with UNICEF in 2001 as a UNICEF UK Special Representative for Humanitarian Emergencies.