[Documents menu] Documents menu

‘Time Running Out in Darfur’—SCF

UN Integrated Regional Information Network (Nairobi), 19 May 2001

Save the Children (UK) has this week warned that time is running out to prevent a major disaster in west Sudan. In the worst-affected areas, the nutritional status of children had hit alarming levels, all coping mechanisms were breaking down, and children were already dying due to lack of food, water and emergency medical treatment, it stated in a press release. The failure of the donor community to heed warnings since November about the developing drought situation meant it was already too late to avoid substantial loss of life; an immediate response was vital now to minimise further unnecessary mortality and destitution, according to SCF.

We are now facing a serious humanitarian crisis in Darfur, said SCF programme director in Sudan, Robert Folkes. With the prospect of rains in July, we must move fast to ensure that the food gets in before roads become inaccessible. Urgent steps are needed before then to prevent measles spreading, and to contain diseases such as diarrhoea which threaten children’s lives during the rain, he added. [for further details, go to: www.savethechildren.org.uk]

Food insecurity also persisted in southern Sudan, with physical insecurity as the most important determinant, USAID’s Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) reported. Food options remained limited, households food stocks were exhausted and markets were bare, so there was increasing dependence on [food] relief and hard-to-find wild foods, it said. Cereal prices were on an upward trend, and food security prospects in areas currently experiencing shortages remained precarious, it added.