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UNICEF Representative meets children and women displaced in South and East Darfur

UNICEF Sudan/2013
© UNICEF Sudan/2013
Mr. Cappelaere helps a girl by carrying water in a jerry can to her settlement, El Neem camp, East Darfur

Khartoum, 20 June 2013 - Mr. Geert Cappelaere, the UNICEF Representative in Sudan, travelled to East and South Darfur on a two day visit and met with government officials, humanitarian community, UNAMID, religious, community leaders, vulnerable children and women. UN estimates that in Darfur there are some 1.4 million people receiving assistance, including 255,000 newly affected civilians, more than half of these are children.

Mr. Cappelaere visited El Neem camp in Ed Daein, East Darfur and, Otash camp in South Darfur to assess the situation of children and women and their needs, UNICEF’s emergency response and the possible gaps.  Mr. Cappelaere explained “Many people, majority children have been arriving in the camps, which are already overcrowded, and some are facing critical humanitarian needs. UNICEF is resorting to water tankering in some camps and airlifting of emergency nutrition supplies for children. However, more urgent support and greater capacity is needed from the international community. UNICEF promises to continue supporting these vulnerable children and their families.” He then went on to say, “From a children’s perspective it does not matter whether they are defined as new or old IDPs, being part of host communities, living in rural areas or nomadic groups, children need our immediate and quality assistance. There are no longer excuses allowed.”

In a meeting with 50 imams in Nyala, a strong alliance was forged between UNICEF and the religious leaders to jointly invest in ensuring that boys and girls, particularly the most vulnerable have their rights met. Chief Imam of South Darfur, Sheikh Tegani Yousuf told UNICEF, “Children are the future. We need to ensure their well-being and full development.”

Mr. Cappelaere also met with the acting Deputy Wali of East Darfur, Mr. Ahmed Kubur Gibril. They discussed the imminent release of 1,961 cartons of plumpy’ nut which had been held by the authorities for quality checks since mid-July 2012. Mr. Gibril and Mr. Cappelaere emphasized the importance of providing the plumpy’nut immediately to the children suffering from malnutrition. At 16.4%, the Global Acute Malnutrition rates among under-five children in Sudan are above global emergency levels.

He concluded his visit saying, “It was humbling to see children smiling and yet living in such difficult situation.

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