UNICEF says malnutrition worsens in southern Sudan

Khartoum- Sudan (PANA) -- Average rates of malnutrition in war- torn southern Sudan have been steadily worsening since 2001 causing "a major humanitarian crisis," UNICEF says in a report.
Every survey undertaken in Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile since the beginning of the year showed at least 20 percent malnutrition rates.
The measure -- Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) -- applies to children under five who are below 80 percent weight for their height.
Mortality rates in Old Fangak, in Upper Nile, which currently has the worst rates of malnutrition in the world, have almost doubled since September 2002, the report says.
But while there is a coordinated response to the situation in Bahr el Ghazal from aid agencies and the UN, feeding programmes are not in many areas of Upper Nile, it notes, blaming general insecurity, the expense of flying relief aid into the area, and resource problems within agencies.
Maxine Clayton, head of Action Contre la Faim, which has conducted many of the surveys in Upper Nile, emphasised the need for all aid agencies and donors to focus not just on delivering food, but also on providing clean water and health care to prevent further malnutrition.
"There isn't going to be an impact if we just concentrate on food," the private daily Akhbar Alyoum quoted her as saying Wednesday.

03 september 2003 12:40:00

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