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Press release

UNICEF says urgent funds needed for thousands of displaced children in Darfur region

$46 Million to Support Refugees in Chad, Displaced in Sudan

GENEVA, 3 June 2004 – UNICEF said today that thousands of children’s lives can be saved in Sudan’s western Darfur region if adequate funding is received in the next few weeks. Although the coming rains are expected to complicate relief efforts, the agency said that a major challenge for the entire aid community is funding.

Appealing for $46 million during a meeting of donors in Geneva today, UNICEF Regional Director Tom McDermott said the situation in Darfur requires the full financial and political support of all governments and aid agencies.

“The aid community has mustered its forces for one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises today,” said McDermott. “Now we need the resources to act to our fullest capacity and that requires the combined will of the international community.”

“The idea is to help get people back to their land,” McDermott emphasized.  “Although we need to meet urgent needs, the international community must also work to establish safety in rural areas so people are not caught in camps for months on end.”

Aid agencies say that at least 1 million displaced persons are living in camps, in crowded homes of relatives, or scattered in dry riverbeds soon to be flooded by torrents of rain, and that a further 1 million have been affected by the conflict.

UNICEF’s action plan includes support in health and nutrition, water and sanitation, primary education and protection. UNICEF will also coordinate nutrition interventions, which include therapeutic and supplementary feeding centers for malnourished children.

McDermott noted that under the plan, UNICEF and its partner CARE will provide shelter, clothing, cooking and other items to tens of thousands of families who have lost everything.  UNICEF is also working in close cooperation with MSF,  Save the Children, Oxfam, ACF and the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Joint Logistics Cell (UNJLC) on the delivery of shelter and other non-food items.

UNICEF has been providing assistance in Darfur since the onset of the emergency in 2003.

For further information, please contact:
In Khartoum: Paula Claycombe 249-12-309410
In New York: Gordon Weiss 212-326-7426 




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