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Access to basic health care services is severely hampered in Darfur. Haroon Adam Abaka, 24 months, is weighed and checked for proper growth. Credits: Mohamed Nureldin/Act Caritas 2010

Access to basic health care services is severely hampered in Darfur. Haroon Adam Abaka, 24 months, is weighed and checked for proper growth.
Credits: Mohamed Nureldin/Act Caritas 2010

Sudan’s Darfur region is witnessing an upsurge in violence. A quarter of a million people were forced from their homes in 2010. Millions more already live in camps in a crisis with no obvious resolution. [View our photo gallery from Caritas projects in Darfur]

Caritas provided food, clean water, healthcare, peacebuilding and skills training to half a million people in camps and host communities in South and West Darfur in 2010 as part of an ecumenical programme with the Protestant and Orthodox ACT Alliance. [Read how Caritas aid is being used in Darfur]

Caritas saw an increase in the number of people in need of help with doubling of new people requiring its humanitarian services. At the same time, aid efforts became more difficult as a result of insecurity and was mainly restricted to camps.

The $11 million 2011 Darfur programme plans to increase the number of people it reaches to 530,000 people, the highest number yet in its history.

Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight said, “Sadly, peace has been elusive in Darfur in 2010. More people have been forced from their homes. Large scale returns have not materialised. Up to a third of the population live in camps.

Caritas and its partners have raised over $90 million for the people of Darfur since the programme began in 2004. Christians around the world have shown such commitment and compassion for people in one of the world’s most troubled spots.

“Our aid operations are as vital as ever, providing essential food, water, healthcare and a livelihood to half a million people. Our commitment to saving and improving lives remains with programme plans running to 2015.

“Eight years on it is fair to ask the question how many of the camps will become urban centres and how sustainable will they be? The Government of Sudan has launched a new strategy for peace which we welcome, but we need to see real progress on a negotiated settlement.”

The Darfur programme is currently supporting about 270,000 people with water and sanitation in camps and about 240,000 people with health and nutrition services. Caritas works in Darfur regardless of social, religious or ethnic differences.

The three implementing partners, Norwegian Church Aid, Sudanaid (Caritas Sudan) and Sudan Council of Churches, employ around 500 mostly national staff.