Children are dying in western Sudan as a result of a disastrous two-year-long drought affecting nearly a million people, according to a British aid agency cited by Reuters.
"Time is running out to prevent a major disaster in west Sudan," Save the Children (UK) said in a statement received on Wednesday.
"In the worst affected areas, one in three children are already suffering from malnutrition...
"Children are dying due to lack of food, water and emergency medical treatment," it said. The agency said almost a million people were directly affected by a two-year-long drought in Sudan's Darfur region and that the nutritional status of children was "alarming.”
"It will be six months before any harvest is due and all coping mechanisms are now breaking down. Over 400,000 people are critically short of water. More and more people are moving into the towns in search of food to survive," Save the Children said.
The agency’s appeals to prevent the famine from getting worse have been frequently issued. In a press release posted on its website on April 10, the agency said: “Away from the eyes of the world a devastating crisis is threatening children in Sudan. Drought has hit the country hard - and in particular Darfur in the west. Harvests have failed - food prices have rocketed. In desperation families are selling livestock to buy food. Many are abandoning homes to search for water.”
According to Reuters, the agency's warning followed a wake-up call on Monday from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which said 2.97 million people in Sudan needed international assistance due to successive crop failures and civil war in the south.
The FAO estimated the cereal import requirement for 2000/1 (November-October) at 1.44 million tons, including expected commercial imports of 1.2 million. Food aid pledges amount to 55,000 tons, leaving a gap of 157,000 tons, it said.
Sudan is worn out by an 18-year-old civil war between the southern rebels, who are Christians and animists, and the Muslim government in Khartoum. The war plays the major role in hindering international aid to the victims of the war and drought – Albawaba.com
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