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Oxfam Launches $10 Million Appeal for Chad, Sudan


International relief agency Oxfam launched a $10 million appeal on Monday for its humanitarian work in Chad and Sudan. The British-based group says as fighting continues to spread from Darfur into eastern Chad, its biggest emergency program in the world will soon run out of money. Aid workers say refugee camps along the border are running out of life-saving resources. Phuong Tran has more from VOA's Central and West Africa bureau in Dakar.

Oxfam's director in Chad, Roland Van Hauwermeiren, says water is running out in the camps.

"We can only provide three liters of water per person a day. And this is in temperatures of 44 degrees Celsius," he said. "When you see that people do not have [enough] water, there is additionally, automatically a sanitation [problem] and a health [problem]."

Fighting between the government-backed Janjaweed militia and rebels has left more than 200,000 people dead and displaced more than 2 million others on both sides of the Chad-Sudan border.

Chad's Oxfam program manager says cross-border raids in Darfur have spilled over into Chad pushing more people into waste-infested and disease-breeding camps.

"It is not only in Darfur. It became an internal Chadian crisis," he said. We do not have the means immediately available and so fast in order to respond directly to these exploding needs."

Oxfam policy manager for West Africa Michel Anglade says given the constant fighting that seems to have no end, Oxfam's $20 million budget for Chad and Sudan cannot last much longer.

"Both for refugees in Chad, [and] for people who are internally displaced, there is no hope of coming back soon to their homes .Unfortunately, there is no peace in sight right now," he saod.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon is opening high-level talks in New York today with the African Union that could clear the way for deploying a sizable U.N. force in Darfur.

The talks are aimed at nailing down a tentative deal reached with Khartoum to send about 2,300 U.N. troops to Darfur to bolster 7,000 underequipped AU troops, and will also focus on the final phase of the U.N. plan expected to culminate in the deployment of a 20,000-strong joint U.N.-AU force in Darfur.

Meanwhile, Sudan's foreign minister, Lam Akol, reportedly agreed today to the second phase of a proposed three-phase U.N. support package.

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