Jolie donates to Chad emergency, urges others to follow suit
GENEVA, March 9 (UNHCR) - UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie has donated $50,000 to the emergency situation in Chad, and urged other individuals and corporations to do the same to help 110,000 refugees who have fled Sudan's Darfur region for eastern Chad over the last year.
"It stuns me that such a dramatic emergency is nowhere to be found in the headlines," said Jolie. "UNHCR has termed the refugee crisis in Chad an invisible emergency. Without relief assistance and immediate relocation to safer sites, tens of thousands of innocent lives may be lost."
The UN refugee agency and its partners are racing against time to assist some 110,000 Sudanese refugees living in precarious conditions along a 600-km stretch of the insecure Chad-Sudan border, where they are subject to frequent incursions by the Sudanese militia.
Aid agencies are working round the clock to relocate these refugees to three camps further inland in eastern Chad, where they can live in safety and receive proper assistance. More than 9,000 refugees have been transferred to Farchana, Kounoungo and Touloum camps so far, and UNHCR hopes to move a total of 60,000 before roads become impassable when the rainy season starts in late May.
The Goodwill Ambassador's contribution will help support life-saving water projects in the arid area, where the supply of clean water is a costly and logistically complicated venture. Currently, much of the water at the inland sites has to be trucked in, but UNHCR's partners are drilling to locate more water for the growing camp populations.
"I recently learned that diseases caused by bad water are responsible for 80 percent of illnesses in the developing world, killing a child every eight seconds. It's heartbreaking," said Jolie.
Her donation will also help provide much-needed relief supplies like shelter materials, blankets, cooking sets, jerry cans, hygiene kits and soap. UNHCR has so far sent 511 tons of such items to Chad from Denmark, Pakistan and Tanzania.
Thanking the Goodwill Ambassador for her support at a crucial time, High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers said, "The generosity of our Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie will help us save lives, and will public draw attention to this human tragedy in the making, hopefully before it is too late."
Jolie is the first major private individual donor to the Chad emergency. To date, UNHCR has received $7.5 million for this operation in government donations, with the largest contribution of $5 million coming from the United States. The refugee agency will need a total of $20.7 million to handle the Dafur/Chad situation this year.