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Press release

With Sudan ceasefire in place, UNICEF begins emergency response work

One Million People Displaced and in Need of Food, Water, Healthcare and Shelter

AMMAN / KHARTOUM, 26 April 2004 – The temporary ceasefire in western Sudan is allowing humanitarian aid workers first time access to hundreds of thousands of displaced people who were previously unreachable.

“More than one million people are already affected by this crisis and many more could suffer in the coming months,” said Joanna van Gerpen, the UNICEF Representative in Khartoum. “It is imperative that we take maximum advantage of this window to save as many lives as possible.”

An emergency assessment is underway, but, even as it is being carried out, UNICEF has started immediate relief work. To date, UNICEF has ensured that:

  1. Shelter, blankets, jerry cans and other essential items for daily living are mobilized for 100,000 people who fled their homes in the widespread attacks.
  2. More than 48,000 children between the ages of two  and 15 were vaccinated against meningitis in several camps and in the near-by communities of Kutum and Kebkabiya in northern Darfur. Another 50,000 will soon be vaccinated in the Mukjar and Mornei camps in western Darfur.
  3. Over 110,000 children and women have been provided with treated bed nets to protect themselves against malaria-bearing mosquitoes.
  4. Commercially hired water trucks are delivering water on a regular basis to several outlying areas where displaced families have settled in recent weeks.
  5. Almost 200 boreholes have been readied to assist more than 100,000 persons.
  6. A special campaign is underway to rehabilitate 300 water points that have the potential to provide safe drinking water to 150,000 people in the three Darfur states.
  7. A measles campaign is planned for mid-May. All children under 15 years old will be targeted. UNICEF and WHO estimate that 2.6 million children will be vaccinated throughout the region.
  8. In northern Darfur, a programme to trace and reunify children who have been separated from their families is being led  by UNICEF, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Save the Children-UK.

In the coming week, a joint appeal for humanitarian aid will be announced. The fund will be used to provide additional supplies for the people affected by the conflict – many of whom are living in fragile shelters constructed of grass and without roofs.  With the onset of the rainy season in June, the potential for outbreaks of disease due to inadequate shelter and crowded living conditions is a serious threat.

* * * *
For Additional information on the crisis in Sudan visit the UNICEF site at www.unicef.org

For further information, please contact:
Paula Claycombe, UNICEF Khartoum,  249-12-309410, 
Erin Trowbridge, UNICEF Media, New York,  212-326-7172

For nearly 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 158 countries to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for poor countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.




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Latest video from Darfur filmed on April 22.

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21 April 2004

Sudan Communication Officer Paula Claycombe spoke to UNICEF's Francis Mead from Northern Darfur.

Audio clip ([mp3]; right-click to download)

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