|© UNICEF/HQ06-0704/ Cranston|
|UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow sits with children at the Zamzam camp for people displaced by conflict near El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur State.|
DARFUR, Sudan, 23 June 2006 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow visited the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan in mid-June to highlight the importance of protecting children affected by the continuing violence there.
“We’ve come to Darfur with the hope that people will see what is happening here and the need that is here, and the beautiful children that are here,” said the award-winning actress at the start of the week-long field visit.
While in Darfur, Ms. Farrow kept a video diary that records her personal impressions of what she called the worst humanitarian crisis facing the world today. View the video diary to see scenes from Ms. Farrow’s trip and hear, in her own words, the impact it had on her.
“Its been 18 months since I've last been to Darfur and people are still living in refugee camps in constant fear and dangerous conditions, only now there are hundreds of thousands instead of tens of thousands. I just feel so outraged, because no one should have to live like this,” she said.
‘We have to act now’
Accompanied by her son Ronan, Ms. Farrow travelled to villages and camps for displaced people in both government- and rebel-controlled areas of North and South Darfur. She witnessed a range of UNICEF-supported projects in action: from child feeding centres and demobilization sites for former child soldiers to HIV/AIDS counselling and testing programmes.
At every stop, Ms. Farrow heard the stories of families devastated by horrific violence – stories told, as she put it, by “courageous women who have been through a situation that the rest of us can scarcely imagine.”
The total number of people affected by the conflict in Darfur is now estimated at 3.7 million – including 1.87 million internally displaced people. In the last four months alone, more than 200,000 have been displaced.
In the face of this ongoing crisis, UNICEF and its partners need more resources for programmes to meet the needs of children and families at risk. Ms. Farrow’s recent visit to Darfur was intended, in part, to rally support for these life-saving efforts.
“I've spent three days now in Darfur and I'm still struggling to understand how we let this happen,” said Ms. Farrow. “I feel if I could just convey what I've seen, then people would understand that we have to act now.”