CRS relief efforts across West Darfur are reaching at least 150,000 people in dire need. Details about last month's operations are below. CRS is providing humanitarian relief in the form of shelter, water, sanitation, refugee camp management, education and food. To date, CRS has pledged an initial $6 million to the crisis for relief efforts in Sudan and Chad.
Context for Relief Operations
The Darfur region is comprised of three states -- North, West and South Darfur -- with a population of nearly six million people, one third of whom are now in need of emergency aid. Humanitarian access throughout Darfur was largely prohibited by the Sudanese government until May of 2004, more than a year following the outbreak of violence there. The delayed access, insecurity and harsh terrain make the provision of humanitarian relief especially difficult.
Where CRS Operates in Darfur
CRS works in West Darfur in its capitol of El Geneina, and north of El Geneina along the border with Chad in the "Kulbus corridor," including the Sirba, Selea and Kondobe areas. Across the border in eastern Chad, CRS is working with its local partner, SECADEV, in managing refugee camps in Kounoungou and Touloum.
CRS Relief Efforts in March:
Shelter and Family Kits
CRS reached 1,250 displaced families in West Darfur with shelter and family kits. Nearly half of the families received the kits via aircraft since they had been uprooted after a February explosion in a nearby ammunition dumping ground. CRS also provided shelter and family kits to people in Medina Hujaj, Bir Dageeg and Sirba II.
Since beginning its relief efforts in Darfur, CRS has reached tens of thousands of people, often providing their first package of relief supplies since fleeing their homes. Family kits include essential hygiene and shelter materials, such as blankets, soap, water cans, sanitary napkins for women, tubs and cooking utensils. CRS also provides these essential kits to hundreds of nomadic families.
Water and Sanitation
CRS constructed 50 pit latrines in five schools El Geneina. Throughout the region, CRS is building sources (wells and pumps) that enable access to clean water in various camps, constructing family-style latrines for camps and schools, and facilitating hygiene training.
CRS works closely with the World Food Programme in facilitating distributions of emergency food. CRS distributed 264.4 metric tons of food in Kondobe and Bir Dageeg, to Senidadi and Azerni populations, and to more than 6,000 people in Abu Sourouj.
Because people have missed the harvest season for two straight years, there is a growing dependence on food aid that will not be resolved until displaced communities can return to their abandoned homes and fields.
In the Medina Hujaj camp, CRS provided hygiene education, as well as psychosocial support for children who are dealing with grief and trauma. In Al Riyad B and Kirinding, CRS provided fencing for the schools, and construction materials for improvement of existing structures.
Education is essential in helping to establish a sense of normalcy and routine in a long-term emergency setting, especially for children who have been traumatized by the events that displaced them. CRS is rebuilding and rehabilitating schools, providing education materials, supporting teachers with salaries and training, and constructing latrines on school campuses. CRS and its partners have already built 48 schools, run by more than 100 teachers and volunteers, and benefiting more than 4,000 primary school children. In the coming months, CRS plans to build five schools in El Geniena, provide 19 schools with education materials in the Kulbus locality, support teachers in 24 schools with incentives and learning materials, as well as build water and sanitation facilities. This support will reach as many as 15,000 children.
U.S. Advocacy and Community Awareness
In the United States and international political arenas, CRS provides testimony, builds awareness, and shares its field expertise to encourage government leaders to more fully address the crisis in Darfur. CRS seeks to generate greater understanding of the crisis with communities across the United States through panels, campus and diocesan outreach, speakers' tours, media outlets and CRS' legislative advocacy network.