Sunday, March 15, 2009

Darfur: Children and Women endangered by suspension of NGOs in North Sudan/Darfur

UNICEF is working with government and remaining non-government partners to address immediate gaps in the provision of life-saving services to children, following the suspension of 16 non-governmental organizations by the Government of Sudan.

The biggest impact will be in Darfur, where a major humanitarian crisis is ongoing with 2.7 million people displaced, for whom these NGOs have been providing life-saving humanitarian services. Due to the suspension of activities of these NGOs, live-saving activities for an estimated up to 1.5 million people are feared to be interrupted. More than half of those affected are children.

UNICEF will strive to ensure that basic services are met wherever possible, but does not have the capacity or resources to implement all of the programs that would have been provided by the suspended organizations and has advocated for their immediate return.

Disrupted health services and food distribution are feared to exacerbate malnutrition levels among children, particularly with the approaching hunger gap season, which starts in April. The annual flood season starts in May, and preparedness activities to prevent and minimize cholera outbreaks and response capacity will be severely hampered with the departure of NGOs.

UNICEF estimates that $23 million will be required to sustain the most critical humanitarian needs through June 2009. To date, UNICEF Sudan has received 6% of the funding it requires to sustain operations. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

"Americans have been early and strong advocates for the people of Darfur," said Caryl M. Stern, President/CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. "At this difficult time, while UNICEF awaits the return of essential partners, we need America's help to keep women and children alive. Zero innocent children should have to die as a result of humanitarian aid disruption."

Source: U.S. Fund for UNICEF
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
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