Crisis in Sudan: Delivering emergency relief and lasting solutions
From Bad to Worse
Although the international response to the crisis is substantial, there also is great fear that conditions will deteriorate further and that even greater human suffering will occur over the next several months. Security of all displaced persons, but especially women, remains a top concern. And, because of the violence, Darfur's permanent residents and those displaced have been unable to plant new crops, which will extend the time that they are dependant on outside food aid and in grave danger of hunger and malnutrition until well into 2005.
Relief Comes in Many Forms
Save the Children is the largest relief organization in this region working to help children and families survive the crisis. Our vital programs include:
Hunger relief - In recent months, Save the Children has become the largest distibutor of food aid in western Sudan, providing food to more than 300,000 people - 40 percent of whom are children. Therapeutic feeding centers have been established which treat the weakest and most malnourished children under the age of five.
Emergency health - Save the Children opened 14 health clinics which treat up to 300 patients a day for illnesses such as malaria, diarrhea, and respiratory infections. More clinics are planned.
Water and sanitation programs provide up to 7,000 gallons of clean drinking water a day. We also continue to create new emergency water supplies (new wells and equipment) elsewhere and are helping to construct hundreds of latrines that protect water sources from contamination.
Protection - Save the Children is the only organization conducting structured group activities for children, including many who have witnessed atrocities, who urgently need a respite from the chaos and stress. Our activities attract some 10,350 children daily. Working with other partners, Save the Children has worked to identify and reunite children who have been separated from their families.
Shelter and non-food items - Because we were the only agency prepared for a large-scale distribution of shelter material, we received large quantities of plastic sheeting and relief items such as blankets, buckets and soap and distributed the materials 46,000 families in 36 camps before the rainy season began in July.
Addressing Urgent Priorities
Save the Children continues to assess conditions and expand responses as resources allow, given widely accepted projections that the crisis will soon become even worse because of factors ranging from the sheer number of displaced people in acute need to the missed planting season that will leave the region dependant on international food relief well into next year.
During the coming months and as security and resources allow, Save the Children will focus on a number of urgent priorities in West Darfur. Providing immediate humanitarian relief and focusing on programs that address the special needs of children and women in crises that many others overlook, including education, psychosocial support, protection and reproductive health.