Sudan: ECHO extends €1.3 million to address emergency levels of malnutrition in Sudan

Khartoum,  Sudan (PANA) -  The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) has donated an additional Euros 1,335,000 to UNICEF, as part of the scale-up efforts at addressing the emergency levels of malnutrition in the most affected regions of Sudan.

In a press statement Monday, ECHO said that multiple localized conflicts and recurring displacements over the last two years have resulted in a sustained humanitarian crisis which has worsened the situation in the country.

“Today, there are over 2 million children suffering from acute malnutrition in Sudan of whom 550,000 are severely acutely malnourished. This represents about one in every 12 children under the age of five,” it said.

According to the EC's department, malnutrition is not just about hunger but also a symptom of limited access to quality basic services such as health care, safe water, proper sanitation as well as good hygiene and  nutrition practices.

Poor feeding practices (such as the failure to continue breastfeeding) as well as the lack of appropriate and diversified foods have also been principal contributing factors to the ongoing crisis. Basic availability of food alone cannot address this issue, the statement noted.

“With already high infant mortality levels of 83 per 1000 live births, inaction to address malnutrition could be catastrophic”, UNICEF Representative Geert Cappelaere was quoted as saying Monday.

“Children’s needs and rights can only be fully met with an end to protracted conflicts, and investment in basic social services becomes the top priority. There is therefore an urgent need for a more concerted and holistic response by humanitarian and development partners in collaboration with government entities at federal and state level.

"Strengthening the health system to deliver an integrated package of health and nutrition interventions, provision of water, hygiene and sanitation services, as well as addressing issues around education and child protection will be crucial in preventing malnutrition among children under five”. Cappelaere emphasized.

Over the last year, ECHO funding had supported UNICEF with an initial €2,000,000 which the agency and its partners to provide immediate and life-saving interventions to Sudanese children suffering as a result of the ongoing development and humanitarian crisis.

"This additional support of € 1,335,000 will further ensure a concerted multi-sectoral approach to address the malnutrition crisis and make a vital difference in reaching the most vulnerable children in the most deprived localities in Sudan," said Jean-Louis De Brouwer, Director General of Operations at ECHO in Brussels.

"With 2,000,000 children moderately malnourished and 550.000 severely malnourished on a yearly basis in Sudan, fighting malnutrition remains a key investment for ECHO support in order to alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable.

"With this extra support, we trust UNICEF should be in a better position to scale up its intervention in the most sensitive areas and reach even more vulnerable children in the country," the official added.
-0- PANA MO/AR 12Jan2015

12 janvier 2015 17:54:03

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