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Media advisory

Mia Farrow headed to blighted Darfur

Women and girls still at grave risk of sexual violence

New York / Khartoum, 3 November 2004- UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow is bound for the troubled Darfur region of Sudan this weekend to witness first hand the worsening humanitarian crisis affecting over 2 million people. For 18 months the ongoing conflict has driven villagers from their homes.

Countless women and girls suffered rape during the conflict and they continue to face sexual violence whenever they venture out of their makeshift encampments. Reports indicate that armed militias are using rape as a tactic to humiliate individuals and communities. Assaults are indiscriminate – young girls and old women are equal targets.

UNICEF, as the coordinating agency for the Nutrition Sector, has concluded that over one fifth of all children in Darfur are malnourished, despite the continued interventions of the humanitarian community. Recent surveys by WFP have further substantiated these findings. Approximately forty therapeutic feeding programmes and over 50 supplementary feeding programmes have been supported in Darfur.

Over 900 classrooms have been either rehabilitated or constructed. UNICEF, in cooperation with implementing partners, has provided more than 800,000 people with access to safe water and approximately 50,000 persons with access to sanitation facilities. Since May of this year, UNICEF has supported the establishment of over 150 health facilities, helped to vaccinate more than 2 million children against measles and more than one million children against polio.

Despite these efforts, more needs to be done. Unfortunately, the conflict affected population has grown steadily every month, due to persistent violence, and insecurity.  Likewise, the humanitarian community now has access to new areas. Progress can only be secured through a viable and comprehensive peace agreement.

In addition to visiting UNICEF programmes in the field, Ms Farrow will meet with representatives of the Sudanese Government, the African Union, other agencies and partners. 

During her visit (November 6- 9) Ms Farrow will be available for live radio and television interviews from Nyala, Darfur on Monday, November 8 and  on Tuesday, November 9 from Khartoum.


For further information, stills photos, and fresh video please contact:
Paula Claycomb, UNICEF Media, Khartoum: 249-12-309410
Roshan Khadivi, UNICEF Media, Khartoum: 249-912-160820
Gordon Weiss, UNICEF Media, New York: 212 326 7426




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