ME and Ophelia

Thursday, June 17, 2004

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UK IS SECOND BIGGEST BILATERAL DONOR IN THE WORLD TO SUDAN - Blair says Sudan was a big part of the discussion at the G8

In the past, Prime Minister Tony Blair has said the state of Africa is a scar on the conscience of the world. A few days ago, at a press conference, he was asked: "In terms of your personal conscience, are you comfortable in your own mind that you and your government have done, and are doing, and will do everything you possibly can and could have done for the people of Dafur in western Sudan?"

Mr Blair answered: "Well we are doing our best, but we are looking to see what more we can do. Remember we are I think the second biggest bilateral donor in the world to Sudan. Hilary Benn went there just a few days ago precisely in order to make sure that we are doing everything we can to co-ordinate the humanitarian aid.  It was a big part of our discussion at the G8, we issued a statement on it and I will keep in touch with developments there very precisely indeed, and I think it is an important issue. We need the politics moving in the right direction and the humanitarian aid. And so the answer to your question is I believe we are doing all we can, but we constantly re-assess that, and so we should.
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Carrying £200,000 of aid for Darfur

On Tuesday Oxfam sent a plane carrying £200,000 of emergency water and sanitation equipment to Chad to help thousands of refugees in the Darfur region of western Sudan. The DC8 plane left London on June 15 carrying almost 40 tonnes of material which will be used to construct emergency water and sanitation facilities for about 20,000 refugees.

“The refugees are struggling to survive in a barren desert region where water is scarce and temperatures can hit 50 degrees,” said Oxfam’s Jane Beesley who has just returned from eastern Chad.
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Action by UK churches contributes £50,000 for Darfur

Christian Aid is an agency of the churches in the UK and Ireland, that supports local organisations, which are best placed to understand local needs, as well as giving help on the ground through 16 overseas offices

It is responding to the crisis through the ACT network, which is working with partners the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC), Norwegian Church Aid and the Sudan Development Organization to provide blankets, seeds, tools, and basic health care. It has contributed £50,000 through the Action by Churches Together (ACT) appeal.
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Appeals for Darfur

The money from the British Red Cross Appeal will pay for shelter and essential household items such as blankets and kitchen sets for more than 20,000 families in Darfur, western Sudan. These relief goods will form part of a wider response to the crisis led by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Sudanese Red Crescent. Ros Armitage, British Red Cross’ expert on East Africa and Great Lakes, said: 'With the rainy season quickly approaching, it is important that the Red Cross and Red Crescent meet the needs of the affected population before the area becomes more inaccessible.'"
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Millions of children receiving vaccines in Darfur

UK Committee for UNICEF: a new immunisation campaign in Darfur, Sudan is set to vaccinate over two million children in June against the killer disease.

UNICEF is working to improve conditions for the displaced, many of whom have been maimed and traumatised. Tens of thousands of children have been vaccinated against meningitis in northern Darfur and a major measles vaccination campaign aims to protect 2.6 million children against the potentially deadly disease. Clean water is desperately needed and UNICEF is repairing hundreds of hand pumps in Darfur as well as boring holes for new wells.
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Raises £800,000 plus 500,000 euros for Darfur

Save the Children UK, frustrated by delays due to access problems, have secured £500,000 from the Department for International Development, plus 500,000 euros from ECHO and £300,000 from Save the Children Norway for planned work in health, food security, nutrition and protection in Darfur.
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Providing life-saving support to 385,000 people in Sudan

CARE International is a confederacy of different members who focus on different issues, which together form a complimentary whole. CARE International UK has a particular focus on humanitarian and urban development work.

CARE manages three camps along the Chad-Sudan border using funds from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and from individual donors. But with hundreds more people fleeing across the border every week, the three camps, with a total capacity of 22,000 refugees, are being pushed to their limits.

CARE is providing food, supplies, sanitation, health services and shelter to more than 385,000 still within Sudan, but the attacks continue, and more people are in need. Many farmers have already missed planting season, which means they won't have enough food to last them after the crisis is over.
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Bishop calls on Britons to get behind race to help W Sudan

June 17 Church of England bishop is calling on Britons to get behind the race against time in delivering relief efforts in Western Sudan. The Bishop of Salisbury backed an Oxfam's plea for increased aid to the war-ravaged region ahead of the rainy season’s risk of epidemic.

The Bishop, the Rt Rev David Stancliffe’s appeal for support of humanitarian efforts in Darfur came as G8 leaders met in America to discuss, amongst other things, aid to the estimated million Sudanese left homeless by conflict with Arab militia.

But, the bishop also echoed doubts over the Sudanese Government’s political resolve to guard the peace in the country on Tuesday. “I welcome our Government’s pledge of substantial aid for Darfur, but if a lasting peace for the whole of the Sudan is to be achieved, then the G8 promise of assistance must become a reality and must be accepted and acted upon by the Sudanese government,” he said.

Further reading: On the edge: Photostory from Chad: "'Every drop of water is precious' - and Photo-diary from Oxfam's Communications Officer, Jane Beesley, from the Sudanese border in Eastern Chad. Here is her entry for Friday 28 May, 2004: "Back in a hotel in the capital, N’Djamena, I’m going through my photos and transcribing the stories of the people I’ve met. Eastern Chad feels like a place on the brink of disaster. I fly home tomorrow but will be haunted by the desperation I’ve seen. I think about the words of one refugee who called out to us as we left: “Please don’t let the UN forget us.”
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Assisting 101.218 refugees in eastern Chad

June 16 Geneva UNHCR - More than 100,000 Sudanese refugees are now in UNHCR's eight camps in eastern Chad, less than five months after the refugee agency started relocating them from the insecure Chad-Sudan border.

The UN refugee agency reported that as of Tuesday, a total of 101,218 refugees were being assisted in its camps. Most of them had been transferred on UNHCR convoys from the border in a logistically difficult operation that started on January 19. Several thousands arrived in the camps on their own, bringing livestock and other belongings.

UNHCR is still rushing to transfer an estimated 50,000 to 90,000 refugees remaining along a 600-km stretch of the border, where they will be cut off from assistance once the seasonal rains make roads impassable for trucks. Hundreds more refugees are still arriving weekly in Chad after fleeing militia attacks in western Sudan's Darfur region, but it has been hard for aid agencies to monitor these arrivals because of the sheer vastness and remoteness of the region.

UNHCR now has seven offices in Chad – one in the capital N'djamena and six in eastern Chad, including a newly opened office in Bahai, north-eastern Chad. The agency's work in the vast, semi-arid region includes distributing emergency aid to refugees at the border, relocating and assisting them in the camps, finding alternative sites with sufficient water to support more refugees, as well as the airlift of emergency relief aid to last 150,000 refugees through the rainy season.
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Airlifted supplies into Chad last weekend

World Vision is an independent private Christian organization and is not formally affiliated with any government, denomination, foundation or corporation. It was founded in 1950 by Dr Bob Pierce in response to the needs of Korean War orphans. Since then it has grown to include fund raising offices in 12 countries in Europe, North America and the Far East.

Last weekend World Vision airlifted emergency supplies into Chad, to assist thousands of refugees living along the border with Sudan. 
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Gets 30 years for genocide

Let this be a reminder to those in the Sudanese government.

Former Rwandan mayor Sylvestre Gacumbitsi has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for organising the slaughter of 20,000 people during the 1994 genocide. He led the notorious massacre of thousands of people sheltering in Nyarubuye Church - and distributed weapons and urged Hutu men to rape their Tutsi neighbours.

Gacumbitsi has pleaded not guilty to the charges of genocide, complicity in genocide, murder, rape and extermination at the UN tribunal. One girl told the court in the Tanzanian town of Arusha that Gacumbitsi had personally raped her. He told Tutsis they would be safe in Nyarubuye church but then led militias there to kill those inside. After the genocide, he fled to a refugee camp in Tanzania, where he was found by a BBC television crew.

Some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered in just 100 days in 1994. The genocide ended when the then rebel Rwanda Patriotic Front came to power. Eight years after being set up, the ICTR has convicted 20 people of genocide - six of whom are serving their sentences in Mali. Twenty suspects are on trial, while another 22 are in detention, waiting for their trials to start.

Good on the BBC television crew for finding him. Good on the UN and 8 year old ICTR for getting him convicted. God bless the souls of all the victims.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 6/17/2004
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