BURBANK, California (June 29, 2004) – As many as 300,000 people in Sudan
could die due to the current crisis in the West Darfur region, according to
reports from humanitarian aid workers in the region. The feared toll was based
on studies of malnutrition and mortality rates in Sudan.
Civil war has crippled Darfur for the past year, and innocent civilians, who
have become refugees due to the current crisis, are the most serious victims.
The refugees’ plight is certain to become more desperate with this month’s
onset of the rainy season, which their current living conditions will not be
able to withstand.
Islamic Relief USA representatives, along with a delegation of Islamic Relief
Worldwide offices from the U.K. and France recently visited Sudan. Included
in their trip was a stop in the war-torn Darfur region. Anwar Khan and Arif
Shaikh were the Islamic Relief USA representatives on the delegation.
According to Shaikh, “The living conditions of the displaced people are simply
shocking. Thousands of people have been living in huts made of 4 sides of
straw for several months. As the rainy season approaches, their situation will
only get worse, as their current shelter will not be able to withstand the rain.
Due to the poor living conditions, there are also very serious health problems
in the region, including a meningitis epidemic.”
Islamic Relief Worldwide has five offices in Sudan and has been working in the
country for over 20 years. Islamic Relief Worldwide has clearance to work in
West Darfur, and has pledged an initial $139,000 for emergency intervention
in the area. Islamic Relief Worldwide staff on the ground in the town of Al-
Junaynah in West Darfur have completed the first phase of emergency
assistance. Food was distributed to around 18,000 displaced people and
blankets to 1,400 people in Kerindang and Ardamata camps in Al-Junaynah. In
addition, 300 families who were sheltering in schools in Al-Junaynah were
provided with basic construction materials.
Islamic Relief Worldwide staff are on the ground in Darfur and continue
monitor the situation. Arif Shaikh from Islamic Relief USA is available for