Darfur Crisis Requires $90 Million in Emergency U.S. Funding, Says International Rescue Committee
The humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan, which has cost 50,000 lives and uprooted more than a million people, requires at least $90 million in additional emergency U.S. funding, according to the International Rescue Committee (IRC). These funds are desperately needed to prevent further deaths from starvation and disease.
“The U.S. Congress and the Bush administration have characterized what is happening in Darfur in the starkest terms,” said George Rupp, IRC president. “To stand by that characterization, the U.S. must respond to the ongoing suffering of the displaced in Darfur and refugees in neighboring Chad, the vast majority of them women and children.”
Congress has already provided $95 million in emergency funding for Darfur and Chad in the fiscal year 2005 defense appropriations bill, in response to what UN officials have called the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. However, the Sudan government remains unable or unwilling to reign in the armed militia that is attacking civilians. Consequently, UN agencies and nongovernmental relief groups continue to struggle against tremendous logistical challenges to assist those fleeing for their lives.
The UN is currently facing a $274 million shortfall for its Darfur and Chad programs. “The IRC recommends that the U.S. provide at least one-third of such funding, for a minimum of $90 million, to assist both UN agencies and NGOs in their life-saving work,” said Rupp.
Many of the total 1.4 million uprooted Darfurians, including some 200,000 refugees in Chad, are living in squalid conditions and suffer from dysentery, cholera and other diseases exacerbated by the rainy season. Health officials fear a devastating outbreak of malaria once the rains subside.