Jun 20, 2006

World Refugee Day

Hi all - today is World Refugee Day, in case you didn't know. In the words of the UNHCR,

"On World Refugee Day, we ask you to remember the millions of refugees under our care who are trying to pick up the pieces of once-peaceful lives. As different as they are from each other, one thing connects them all: hope for a better future and a chance to restore lasting peace to their lives."

I'm going to ask you to especially remember those refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have fled from the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. Here's an excerpt on the situation and some photos courtesy of Save Darfur:

"History of the Conflict:
Open warfare erupted in Darfur in early 2003 when the two loosely allied rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), attacked military installations. In response, "Janjaweed" militias received government support to clear civilians from areas considered disloyal to the Sudanese government.

Current situation in Darfur:
Nearly three years into the crisis, the western Sudanese region of Darfur is acknowledged to be a humanitarian and human rights tragedy of the first order. The humanitarian, security and political situation continue to deteriorate: atrocities continue, people are still dying in large numbers of malnutrition and disease, and a new famine is feared. According to reports by the World Food Program, the United Nations and the Coalition for International Justice, 3.5 million people are now hungry, 2.5 million have been displaced due to violence, and 400,000 people have died in Darfur thus far. The international community is failing to protect civilians or to influence the Sudanese government to do so."

Bahai, Chad. The few animals that refugees have brought with them are dying from lack of fodder and water around Bahai. The International Rescue Committee has organized a program to collect and burn carcasses to prevent the spread of disease.

Iridimi refugee camp, Chad. Hawa Salihdin and her children. Her father, her brother, her cousin and 30 other people were killed when the militias attacked her village. Her mother, Hadiya Ahmed, disappeared and is still missing.

Truck taking IDPs from Tawilla to El Fasher: More than 1.1 million people have fled their towns and villages seeking assistance and protection. These IDPs, departing from Tawilla in North Darfur, are fortunate to escape with some of their belongings.

Wounded IDP woman: A Sudanese girl recovers from injuries sustained during an attack on her community. GOS and GOS-supported Jingaweit militia have attacked civilians with impunity throughout Darfur.

IDP shelter in Kalma Camp near Nyala – According to the U.N., approximately 19,000 people have sought protection and humanitarian assistance at this camp for displaced persons in South Darfur. Many displaced persons lack adequate shelter materials, and USAID is working to provide plastic sheeting to these affected populations.

Thanks for any help you can give, whether it be a prayer, a financial donation, or donation of your time. Learn more at www.savedarfur.org and feel free to leave me a comment with your thoughts.

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