Catholic relief agency Caritas Internationalis has issued a $12 million appeal to its supporters to continue funding a campaign that provides assistance to victims in Sudan's Darfur region.
Part of a six-year program that began in 2004, Caritas plans to use the funds to provide clean water, healthcare, peace building and livelihood assistance to nearly 350,000 people in the region, many of whom have had to flee from their homes due to conflict.
Caritas is one of the few aid agencies remaining in Darfur after 16 groups were closed down or expelled from the region in March.
Caritas Internationalis Secretary-General Lesley-Anne Knight said, "Caritas and its partners continue to help 350,000 people through this appeal. Over the next 12 months, there will be a continued focus on providing desperately needed aid as one of the biggest humanitarian organisations left operating in Darfur."
"Looking back at 2009, it is quite clear that among the greatest achievements was the ability to fill some of the gaps in the aftermath of March expulsions of other international aid agencies," she said.
Since 2004, Caritas and its partner Act International have raised $81 million in aid for the people of Darfur. Among their activities, the groups have constructed and rehabilitated a total of 12 schools in the region as well as funded nine community centres that provide services throughout the year.