New initiative to protect more than 600,000 refugees in East Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda
NEW YORK, NY – (UMCOM)The Nothing But Nets anti-malaria campaign has announced a new initiative to help eliminate malaria deaths in the next generation. Responding to an urgent and immediate need, Nothing But Nets is working with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to send long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed nets to the more than 630,000 refugees living in 27 temporary camps in East Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
An initial $2 million donation from the United Nations Foundation to UNHCR will help launch the refugee bed net initiative. The initiative will mobilize global engagement through Nothing But Nets’ partner organizations – including the people of The United Methodist Church, the National Basketball Association, the Union for Reform Judaism, as well as supporters of UNHCR’s Human Race and ninemillion.org campaigns – to promote awareness about malaria, raise funds to purchase the bed nets needed to protect the refugees, and distribute the nets in UNHCR temporary camps.
“This partnership extends a life-saving safety net to some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees,” said Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation. “This initiative represents another step toward covering the continent of Africa with anti-malaria bed nets. Malaria is a preventable disease and our growing coalition of UN agencies, faith communities and major companies are determined to reach our goal of eliminating malaria deaths in this generation.”
“Malaria is the single highest killer disease in East Africa,” said Bishop Daniel Wandabula of the East Africa Episcopal Area. “The people living in the settlement camps in northern Uganda, in temporary structures, do not have access to basic health care and sanitation facilities. The incidence of malaria among expectant mothers and children is exceedingly high despite the fact that the disease can be prevented by using mosquito nets.”
Wandabula said The United Methodist Church in East Africa, with support from partners and agencies, has attempted to provide some emergency relief to the refugees and displaced persons, but the need is overwhelming. “We call upon all peace loving people to support our efforts in promoting the welfare of the innocent people who have been forced out of their homes and rendered destitute, especially in their own country,” he said.
“The rainy season is fast approaching and we must act now to prevent more devastation and loss of life from malaria,” said António Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “Nothing But Nets makes it easy for people to get involved and help us save lives. It’s simple: send a net, save a life.”
More than 275,000 bed nets are needed to protect the refugees living in temporary camps – many of whom have been displaced as a result of the spreading crisis in Darfur. One bed net can protect a family of four and lasts 3-5 years. Each net costs $10 to purchase, distribute, and educate about its proper uses.
To date, Nothing But Nets has raised more than $20 million, and has successfully distributed nets across Africa, including Gabon, Chad, Mali, and Nigeria. The first Nothing But Nets-UNHCR bed net distribution will take place in Uganda in fall 2008. Nothing But Nets will also distribute bed nets in Côte d'Ivoire and the Central African Republic in 2008.
About Nothing But Nets
Nothing But Nets is a global, grassroots campaign to save lives by preventing malaria, a leading killer of children in Africa. Inspired by sports columnist Rick Reilly, tens of thousands of people have joined the campaign that was created by the United Nations Foundation in 2006. Founding campaign partners include the National Basketball Association’s NBA Cares, the people of The United Methodist Church, and Sports Illustrated. It only costs $10 to provide a long-lasting insecticide-treated bed net that can prevent this deadly disease. Visit www.NothingButNets.net to send a net and save a life.
UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, twice Nobel Peace Prize winner (1954 and 1981), provides protection and assistance to refugees and internally displaced people around the world. In more than five decades, the UN refugee agency has helped an estimated 50 million people restart their lives. Today, a staff of around 6,300 people in more than 110 countries continues to help 32.9 million persons worldwide. UNHCR relies exclusively on voluntary contributions from governments, private individuals, foundations and corporations. For further information you may visit (www.) unhcr.org.