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US Catholic relief official says Sudan faces 'catastrophic loss of life' without aid


International aid agencies are in a "race against nature" to save some one million people in the Darfur region of Sudan, according to an official of the US Caritas organisation Catholic Relief Services.

A lack of adequate security has kept aid from getting into western Sudan, where thousands have been killed and more than one million black Africans have fled a scorched-earth campaign led by Arab militias.

The Sudanese government has been under heavy pressure to disarm the militias and allow aid into the region, but the upcoming rainy season could severely hinder aid agencies' ability to deliver aid, said Dan Griffin, Horn of Africa representative for CRS.

Aid agencies were "in a race against nature to keep this from falling into an absolutely catastrophic loss of life," Griffin told Catholic News Service.

Griffin noted that the United Nations has predicted that 300,000 people may die in Darfur regardless of how quickly aid can be provided. "That figure can go over 1 million if we cannot provide an adequate emergency response," he said.

Meanwhile Caritas Australia is encouraging Australian media outlets to give space to the crisis. It is promoting an interview opportunity with British aid worker Fiona Callister.

A Caritas Australia media release last week said the organisation is looking for urgent support from donors "to help more than half of the 1.2 million Sudanese people who have fled Darfur due to violent assaults by Arab militia on African tribes in Sudan".

The Australian number for donations to the Caritas appeal is 1800 024 413. The link for online donations is: http://www.caritas.org.au/howtohelp/donate_online.htm

SOURCE
Sudan faces 'catastrophic loss of life' without aid, CRS official says (Catholic News Service 6/7/04)

LINKS
Aid begins to reaches Sudanese (CathNews 5/7/04)
CAFOD aid reaches Sudan (Reuters AlertNet 2/7/04)
DARFUR: REBELS ABANDON TALKS IN CHAD, ANNAN WARNS OF RISK OF FURTHER REFUGEES (Missionary Service News Agency 2/7/04)
Darfur Crisis: UN High Commission for Refugees continues to assist 100,000 Sudanese refugees in Chad (Fides 2/7/04)
Refugee crisis in Sudan (Caritas Aotearoa NZ)
Darfur bloodshed tests African Union's peace plans (ABC 4/7/04)
No blinking on Darfur (Christian Science Monitor 2/7/04)
Sudan pledges to disarm militias (BBC 3/7/04)
Aid begins to reaches Sudanese (Independent Catholic News 2/7/04)
Interview opportunity with aid worker in Sudan (Caritas Australia 1/7/04)
Chronology: Major events in Sudan's Darfur crisis (China View 2/7/04)
UK 'must do more to help Sudan' (BBC 2/7/04)
Darfur's inescapable horror (KRT/FortWayne.com 2/7/04)
US and U.N. have dwindling time to act in Sudan (Houston Chronicle 1/7/04)
Churches help Sudan emergency appeal - NCCA media release (Anglican Media 30/6/04)
Sudan Emergency Appeal (CAFOD)
Putting Pressure on Sudan (National Catholic Reporter 29/6/04)
US Holocaust museum shuts down to call attention to Sudan genocide (National Catholic Reporter 29/6/04)
Christian World Service
Emergency Aid Sought for Sudan (Zenit 29/6/04)

8 Jul 2004