Rain is imminent bringing with it increased risk of disease and malnutrition. Funds are still desperately needed so aid agencies are able to bolster life-saving food and medicine stocks before the downpours start. Aid delivery becomes severely hampered when the rains wash away vehicle tracks and rivers swell, so help needs to arrive as soon as possible.
Richard Blewitt, Chief Executive of HelpAge International, said:
"The generosity of the British public has been astounding. During my recent visit to Darfur I saw first hand the devastating effect the conflict had on the lives of older people. Many older men and women lived alone in basic shelters which offered little in the way of security. Because of reduced mobility many were finding it difficult to access health services and were in need of supplementary food rations to help combat chronic illnesses and disease. With the coming rains these conditions will get worse.
Brendan Gormley, DEC Chief Executive, said:
"DEC Agencies launched this joint appeal to raise £10 million desperately needed pounds to save lives, we are almost there, so please continue to give."
Money raised by the appeal will help aid agencies in their vital work. For example, it will enable HelpAge International to continue to provide shelter and other basic items for newly displaced older people arriving daily in the camps; to continue and extend our feeding programme so we can reach more older people; provide access to health services, through a network of community health workers and a system of donkey-cart ambulances; and tackle social isolation by setting up livelihoods and activity centres.
To donate to the Darfur and Chad Crisis Appeal you can call 0870 60 60 900 (national call rates), donate online at www.dec.org.uk or at any post office to freepay 1457. Cheques made payable to Darfur & Chad Crisis can be sent to PO BOX 999, London, EC3A 3AA.
For more information, including interviews or photographs of affected areas, please contact:
Press enquiries - 0779 178 7725 (on Saturday) or 0788 088 1651 (on Sunday).
Note to editors:
Agencies involved in this appeal:
British Red Cross, Cafod, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision
More than two million people, nearly one in three of Darfur's population have been forced to flee for their lives into camps. Approximately 107,000 civilians were newly displaced by insecurity and fighting between 1 January and 1 April this year.
Four million people in Darfur, two-thirds of the population, are dependent on humanitarian aid for their survival.
147,000 people are internally displaced in Chad and some 232,000 refugees have fled from Darfur into Chad since the crisis began in 2003.
Access during the rainy season can be extremely difficult due to the flash flooding and swollen waddies.
It is really important to preposition food and supplies such as cement, as once the rains come it is almost impossible to move these goods around.
In Chad the water table rises to within ½ metre of the surface, meaning that latrine design has to take account of that, making them more shallow and in need of constant repair.