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1 IN 3 Malnourished In West Sudan - Help Needed


1 IN 3 Malnourished In West Sudan - Urgent Help Needed

A Save the Children assessment of the situation in West Sudan has found that the region is suffering from one of the worst rates of malnutrition in the world.

Executive Director of Save the Children New Zealand John Bowis said the new study, conducted by Save the Children UK, shows that 33% of a sample population* in Darfur are currently malnourished – this in a region where malnutrition would typically affect 12% of the population annually.

“This is especially alarming given that the assessed region has been less affected by conflict than other areas of Darfur and it is a full two months before the peak famine season,” said Mr Bowis. “The population’s hunger is immediate and needs to be addressed now.”

“In excess of 3000 metric tonnes of food is needed in the north-east of Darfur for the remainder of 2004 to prevent a humanitarian crisis.”

The UN estimates that over 2.2 million people have been affected by the conflict in West Sudan. Heavy rains expected in Darfur this month would compound the problems, said Mr Bowis.

“Not only will the summer rains restrict the level of access for aid workers, they will cause diseases to spread more rapidly by adversely affecting sanitation in camps. Moreover, one million people have been driven away from their homes and cannot make use of their land at a time that is otherwise ideal for planting crops.”

The study showed that 47% of the internally displaced people in the region are children and among these children the risk of a widespread outbreak of measles was high. Diarrhoeal disease and malaria were also contributing to malnutrition and mortality rates, it said.

Save the Children New Zealand is accepting donations for a therapeutic feeding programme in West Sudan and a mass measles vaccination campaign for all children in the region aged 6 months to 15 years. Donations can be made by telephoning 0800 167 168; by post to PO Box 6584, Marion Square, Wellington; or online at www.savethechildren.org.nz

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