One million lives helped in Darfur
23 July 2012
2011 was a historic year for Sudan. It saw the secession of the southern part of the country from the North after one of Africa’s longest running civil wars.
A feeding centre in Darfur.
But in Sudan’s Darfur region the fighting continued. More than 300000 people have been killed since 2004 in Darfur and over 2.7 million people forced from their homes. Conflict, high food prices and an economic downturn combined to increase malnutrition in 2011, with rates in some places as high as a third.
Caritas members provide aid to over a million people inWest and South Darfur through two programmes of work. Catholic Relief Services (CRS is a US Caritas member) runs a programme meeting the immediate and long-term development needs of more than 500000 people. Caritas also works with the Act Alliance of Protestant and Orthodox aid agencies in a unique ecumenical cooperation helping another 500000 people.
In West and South Darfur, Caritas and Act work mostly in camps for people forced from their homes but 15 percent of the aid also goes to host and rural communities to reduce tensions. The main focus is providing emergency relief, clean water, healthcare, nutrition and in peacebuilding.
Solar power is also making an extraordinary difference in the camps, by providing much needed water to those living there. In Khamsadigay camp, which houses just under 20000 people, a solar powered water pump provides 29 litres of water to each person living in the camp each day, using only a very small amount of the power it generates.
“By investing in solar energy, we are cutting costs and improving sustainability,” said Caritas Internationalis Humanitarian Director Alistair Dutton. “By teaching clean hygiene and sanitation to people we are reducing the number people who fall sick.”