D & P to help Iraq and Sudan refugees

  • June 14, 2007
{mosimage}OTTAWA - The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has raised alarms about the growing number of displaced persons needing assistance, especially in Iraq and Sudan.
The development organization set up by the Canadian Catholic bishops 40 years ago estimates that war and conflict have forced five million people from their homes in these two areas alone.

Iraq and Darfur in Sudan are priorities for Development and Peace for 2007, but a June 4 news release from the organization says additional help is needed.

Since sectarian violence escalated in February 2006, more than 800,000 Iraqis have been displaced. Another two million Iraqis are taking refuge in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt and are living in “horrendous” conditions, D&P said.

{sidebar id=2}More than two million inhabitants of Sudan’s Darfur region struggle for survival in displaced persons camps, vulnerable to raids from militias. Another quarter million people have sought refuge in neighbouring Chad or are trying to make it across the desert to Uganda. The whole region faces destabilization.

Since 2003, Development and Peace has contributed more than $1 million to alleviate suffering in Sudan and more than $1.5 million to help displaced people from Iraq. It has recently approved $50,000 in aid to Caritas Iraq, which is working with the Iraqi Red Crescent Society to provide food, medication, shelter and educational activities for children and youth. It has approved another $50,000 for Caritas Syria to aid Iraqi refugees.

Development and Peace has also approved two $150,000 projects for Darfur. One project led by CAFOD (Caritas UK) and the ACT (Action of Churches Together) Network will target emergency preparedness, peacebuilding, health and sanitation, agriculture and school support. The other project, led by a Swiss organization, Terre des homes (TDH), will help children in Darfur.

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