Heavy rainfall in parts of Darfur is threatening to cut off much of the area from aid supplies. Within the next two weeks, the rains are likely to spread throughout the whole region, hampering aid distribution and worsening conditions in the refugee camps.
The rains are normally welcomed, but for the thousands of refugees whose only shelter is straw matting, this year's rains will bring only misery. The downpours have destroyed many makeshift shelters, while several camps are under risk of flooding. The thousands of people who are currently sheltering in dry riverbeds will soon have to move again.
Grim Health Situation
The health risks facing the refugee population are enormous: clean drinking water is scarce, latrines are few and far between, and the camps are cramped. In some areas, the number of children dying is up to three times the international threshold for a humanitarian emergency.
Without adequate sanitation facilities, the rains wash excrement across the camps, increasing the spread of diseases. Diarrhoea currently causes one-third of refugee camp deaths.
Fears of a malaria epidemic are also increasing. The rains provide breeding sites for mosquitoes, while the crammed conditions of the camps and lack of adequate housing have increased the exposure of the refugee population to mosquito bites.
The refugees are in desperate need of aid, especially plastic sheeting to provide protection from the rain, adequate sanitation facilities to curb the spread of disease, and provision of clean drinking water. Please donate generously.