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UN Delivers Food To Darfur's Malnourished Children

Sudan: UN Delivers Food To Help Malnourished Children In Strife-Torn Darfur

The World Food Programme (WFP) will deliver high-energy biscuits to more than 13,000 malnourished children in Darfur in western Sudan tomorrow as part of the stepped-up effort of the United Nations to alleviate the war-torn region’s humanitarian crisis.

A flight carrying 33.6 metric tons of vitamin and mineral-fortified biscuits donated by the Danish Government is scheduled to leave the UN’s Humanitarian Response Depot in Brindisi, Italy, for the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.

WFP’s Director in Sudan, Ramiro Lopes de Silva, said recent surveys of the internally displaced in Darfur indicate alarmingly high levels of malnutrition, especially among children under five.

The studies show malnutrition rates are hovering close to the levels where a nutritional emergency can be declared.

“For many children, these biscuits could well mean the difference between life and death,” he said. “We are racing against time and circumstances to reach at least 1 million people in desperate need of help.”

That’s the number of Sudanese estimated by the UN and aid agencies to have become displaced within Darfur since early last year, when fighting broke out between the Khartoum Government and two rebel groups. At least another 150,000 refugees fled across the border into Chad.

Many civilians have been killed, raped or injured in attacks by the Janjaweed militias, loose bands of Arab fighters that were recruited and armed by Khartoum. The Janjaweed have been burning villages and committing atrocities against the area’s black African population, according to a UN human rights report.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said today that it has safely relocated more than 93,000 people away from the unstable border to refugee camps further inside Chad. The Janjaweed had been making cross-border raids on refugees living in makeshift shelters.

Donations to UNHCR’s emergency appeal for Sudanese refugees in Chad continue to fall far behind needs. So far the agency has received $18 million in funds, while requirements are estimated at more than $55 million.

Last month, WFP distributed food supplies to more than half a million people across Darfur, but its deliveries are being hampered by the onset of the rainy season, which is expected to peak in July.

Meanwhile, this weekend Carol Bellamy, the Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), will visit Darfur for to assess the situation there first-hand. UNICEF has been providing safe drinking water, health services, education, hygiene kits and shelter to families in Darfur.

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