VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 16, 2004 (Zenit.org).- A relief partnership has increased its aid-distribution points in the Darfur region of Sudan, to help serve hundreds of thousands of people who have fled violence.
Over the past three weeks, the Caritas/ACT partnership, which has been working with refugees in Sudan since March, has increased its efforts.
In Kubum, Um Labassa and Dagarossa, Caritas/ACT is assisting a displaced population numbering 200,000. In these areas, the partnership has established three emergency clinics, in addition to distributing hundreds of tons of food and first-aid material.
In Zelingi, Caritas/ACT is engaged in schooling programs for children, as well as emergency aid, preventive health care, the construction of latrines and the formation of leaders.
The partnership hopes to have 12 fully operative health centers in Darfur by the end of September.
Rome-based Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 162 national Caritas organizations involved in emergency, cooperative and development projects.
ACT, or Action by Churches Together, is a global alliance of non-Catholic Christian denominations and their voluntary agencies. It provides emergency humanitarian aid worldwide.
For its part, Caritas-Chad is calling upon the international community to respond to the refugee crisis in Chad and Sudan before it becomes a humanitarian tragedy. Pierre Sou Ngadoy Ngaba of Caritas-Chad warns of the plight of the refugees pouring into Chad from Sudan.
Caritas-Chad is running three of the five camps for Sudanese refugees in Chad. Most of the 19,000 people being treated at the camps are women, children and the elderly from the ravaged Sudanese city of Darfur. At present, the camps can only care for about 10% of the total number of refugees in Chad.
About 150,000 Sudanese refugees poured into Chad over the last year to escape the ongoing civil war.