- Following the expulsion of more than 13 humanitarian agencies in Sudan about a week ago, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has been working with government and other remaining non-government partners to address the worsening humanitarian situation in Darfur.
According to UNICEF statement, the agency is working hard to fill the vacuum left by the agencies, saying women and children are most affected by the suspension of aid activities.
The statement said the biggest impact will be in the troubled Darfur region where more than 2,7 million people are displaced by the conflict.
“Due to the suspension of activities of these NGOs, life-saving activities for an estimated up to 1.5 million people are feared to be interrupted. More than half of those affected are children,” the statement said.
UNICEF said although it has the opportunity and access to funding, it however lacks the capacity and resources to implement all of the programmes that would have been provided by the suspended organisations.
UNICEF estimates that US $23 million will be required to sustain the most critical humanitarian needs through June 2009. To date, UNICEF Sudan has received only 6 percent of the funding it requires to sustain its operations.
“Disrupted health services and food distribution are feared to exacerbate malnutrition levels among children, particularly with the approaching hunger gap season, which starts in April,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, the three employees working for medical charity organisation, Medicins sans Frontieres (MSF) have been released on Saturday. The aid workers were taken hostage by a group of armed men in the Sudan’s war torn Darfur region on Wednesday night.
A French, Canadian and an Italian were taken hostage at gunpoint from the MSF Belgium office at Saraf Umra, about 230 kilometers west of the North Darfur capital El Fasher.
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