Red Cross Red Crescent appeals for 3.7 million Swiss francs as needs intensify in Sudan

By International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 20, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- As conflict, natural disasters, epidemic outbreaks and chronic food insecurity continue to plague Sudan, millions of people have been forced to leave their homes, making them more vulnerable and in critical need of humanitarian assistance.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an emergency appeal for more than 3.7 million Swiss francs (3.8 million US dollars) to support the Sudanese Red Crescent Society in providing critical assistance to 150,000 people who are most in need.

The appeal aims to scale up the Red Cross Red Crescent's operations in nine states across the country, in view of the evolving humanitarian crises. Operations will focus on the immediate provision of non-food items, urgent basic first aid services, and the reduction of the risk of waterborne diseases.

“The situation is truly desperate. It requires longer-term interventions and commitment. So many people who had very little to begin with have fled their homes with literally the clothes on their backs,” said Aisha Maulana, IFRC country representative in Sudan. “It is important to give them a sense of security; delivering temporary shelter in the next few weeks will be critical. People are in urgent need of food, non-food items, safe water and proper sanitation, health care as well as assistance to reconnect with family members.”

Volunteers and staff of the Sudanese Red Crescent Society have been delivering life-saving assistance, reaching close to half a million people over the past year. However, the escalating turmoil and deteriorating infrastructures and social support systems have further intensified the needs of vulnerable populations.

“We have to meet people's basic daily needs, such as food and safe water, but we also need to ensure their dignity is preserved and they are able to rebuild their lives. We hope the international community can offer some timely assistance as we approach the rainy season, which is also known as the hungry season, when food becomes scarcer,” said Osman Gafer Abdalla, Secretary General of the Sudanese Red Crescent Society.

Access continues to be a major impediment in delivering assistance, however, the Sudanese Red Crescent Society, with its network of volunteers across the country, is able to consistently provide service to vulnerable communities.

“We are responding to the needs that exist today, but also addressing the longer-term issues that lie ahead,” said Abdalla. “In collaboration with the authorities and other organizations, the Red Crescent will support vaccination campaigns and promote good hygiene practices. The Red Crescent is also committed to building the capacity of its staff and volunteers so they can better respond to a rapidly growing demand for assistance.”

The IFRC appeal will complement development and emergency operations in relief, health, and water and sanitation activities being undertaken by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and partnering National Societies in Darfur, White Nile and Sennar.