SUDAN: FAMINE CONDITIONS WORSENED BY UPSURGE IN FIGHTING

English/Nat

An upsurge in fighting in southern Sudan is worsening the already horrific famine-like conditions.

Tens of thousands of people are reported to have lost their homes by the latest clashes and the death toll is rising daily.

Sudan has been embroiled in a 15-year civil war in which some one-and-a-half (m) million people have died in the fighting and accompanying famines.

They are images that never fail to shock.

This small aid centre has been set up to feed starving Sudanese who have trudged long distances to find the only food in the rebel-controlled area.

These people have fled the latest clashes that have kept their country a virtual war zone – and now they’re now fighting for their lives.

Drought-like conditions drastically cut down the already meagre food supplies available to them.

Now – displaced by a war that appears to have no end – they are slowly starving to death.

A few weeks ago various rebel groups had agreed to a ceasefire in order to allow more aid agencies to fly planes in with much needed food supplies.

A feud erupted, however, and the fragile peace broke apart – deepening the need for help in the southern region.

SOUNDBITE: (English)
“We are all, every agency, all the people working here in this context are trying to get more planes but I don’t know why it’s so difficult to get more planes to bring food here in southern Sudan to help the people. Maybe it’s the political situation , maybe it’s the war situation maybe it’s a financial problem, I don’t know. I’m not able to answer these questions.”
SUPERCAPTION: Carine Daenens, Nurse for Medicins Sans Frontiers

The U-N World Food Programme has air-dropped 290 tons of food in the past 10 days in Ajiep, enough to feed 33-thousand people for a month.

But an estimated 70-thousand people in and around Ajiep are starving,
said Patrick Schmitt, the agency’s logistic coordinator.

The United Nations says around one-and-a-half (m) million people in southern Sudan need relief food.

The biggest problem is not getting the food – but getting the food to the people.

Roads, barely passable in dry weather, have become impassable mud
quagmires since seasonal rains began later than usual last month.

This centre is feeding about 2,570 people a day but they know it’s not enough to stop many others dying.

SOUNDBITE: (English)
Also, all around our centre you have people lying on the ground just waiting to get some food, some are a little bit more able to stand up, they are just waiting. Waiting maybe to get food, maybe waiting to starve of hunger, some of them are just eating sand. That’s the only thing they have and it’s horrible to see someone on the ground just lying and eating sand.”
SUPERCAPTION: Carine Daenens, Nurse for Medicins Sans Frontiers

There is little the people or the aid agencies can do.

It is said to be common knowledge in Sudan that the rebel soldiers have m

ore access to the food drops than the people in villages like these.

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