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Darfur Funding Crisis Threatens Children’s Health and Protection


UNICEF Warns Money is Running Out

17 MARCH, 2006 –GENEVA/WASHINGTON, DC – UNICEF reported today that severe funding shortages for the Darfur region of Sudan could have a direct and immediate impact on children. UNICEF has US $10.9 million either committed or pledged, but that is only 11% of the total funding needed to operate in the region for the remainder of the year. These resources will run out in a matter of months.

“Nearly 2 million children depend on our efforts to protect them from disease, from the effects of conflict and to provide opportunities for schooling,” said Ted Chaiban, UNICEF Country Representative in Sudan. “Conflict in Darfur has entered its third year and is no longer front page news. UNICEF is sounding the alarm that lack of funding for essential water and sanitation, health, education and protection programmes is an additional threat facing children.”

The lack of money will lead to serious consequences for the children of Darfur:

* UNICEF and its partners in Darfur are working to immunize half a million children still vulnerable to disease. But without additional resources to maintain cold chain systems and fund special campaigns, fewer children will be vaccinated, greatly increasing the threat to their health.
* If maintenance and expansion of water and sanitation infrastructures in rural areas were halted, millions of people could have limited or total lack of access to safe water and sanitation, leading to water-borne diseases that spread rapidly and lethally in close quarters.
* Lack of resources will force schools to close and leave hundreds of thousands of children without access to education. Approximately 382,000 children have benefited from UNICEF education support, including the provision of education supplies and teacher salaries.
* Increased insecurity has already prevented humanitarian agencies from reaching over a half million people; if the funding shortage continues, that number will grow.

“Without significant and immediate funding, and given existing problems with security and access, the humanitarian crisis that was averted only last year will return,” said Chaiban. “In so many cases, people are still entirely dependent on humanitarian assistance because the conflict has not been resolved. We must act now to keep, continue and encourage peace.”

UNICEF has requested $89 million to continue its operations in Darfur.


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