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More support needed to save lives in Sudan, Concern tells Foreign Affairs Committee today
An Irish aid worker is calling for more international support for the millions of people displaced in Sudan after returning from the war-torn country.
Concern Worldwide’s interim country director for Sudan, Dominic MacSorley, has just returned from battle-scarred towns in Darfur in the north-east African nation which were the scene of intensive fighting in recent weeks.
He is due to address the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence this afternoon through a video link about the worsening humanitarian crisis and will outline the urgent needs of almost seven million people left homeless from the conflict since it began seven months ago.
The highly experienced aid worker acknowledges the critical funding from Irish Aid, the government’s overseas development organisation, in supporting vital health and nutrition services as well as emergency kits for 2,000 displaced families whose homes have been destroyed. However, he will tell the committee that much more international support is needed.
“This is one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises,” said Mr MacSorley, who is currently in Chad, one of the world’s poorest countries where hundreds of thousands of Sudanese have fled to for safety.
“Sudan now has more displaced people internally and externally than anywhere else in the world including Ukraine and Syria. Lives are depending on our support.
“Twenty years ago the world’s attention was focused on the conflict that was raging in Darfur. The next generation of Sudanese are living through that same hell today, but attention along with the resources to provide basic humanitarian assistance to all who need it is desperately lacking.
“We recently travelled to a town called Ardamata which was the centre of some very intense fighting just over a week ago.
“It was heavily damaged with buildings and vehicles destroyed, including a health facility supported by Concern and UNICEF that was looted.
“It was devastating to see the level of destruction. Everything in the facility was gone, including medicines and drugs used to keep malnourished children alive.
“Our nutritional manager, who treats malnourished children, was visibly upset when I met her and told me it was like her own home was destroyed.”
Concern, which has about 100 staff in Sudan where it has worked for 38 years, has resumed its aid work in the country after temporarily suspending operations due to an increase in armed attacks.
Over 10,000 people are estimated to have been killed since this latest conflict in Sudan began on April 15th.
Around half the country’s population (24.7 million people) are estimated to be in need of humanitarian aid and protection in the country.
This includes over three million children estimated to be acutely malnourished, 621,000 of whom face severe acute malnutrition. These figures are expected to continue rising.
The UN has described the crisis in Sudan as “one of the worst humanitarian nightmares in recent history” with many horrifying reports of violence and people suffering from hunger and the impacts of conflict.
There has also been a near total collapse of health, food, and economic infrastructure.
For more information or to support Concern’s work visit concern.net.
For media queries or interview requests please contact Kevin Jenkinson at email@example.com.
Note: The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence hearing is due to start today at 3.15pm and details can be found here: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/committees/33/foreign-affairs-and-defence/
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