Sudan: Food situation deteriorating in Akuem and Marial-Lou
MSF urges the World Food Programme (WFP) to continue its
23 April 2003
MSF finds it crucial for the WFP to continue with its general food distributions in a manner adapted to the population to ensure that the situation in the region does not deteriorate even more.
Paris/Geneva - Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) considers the nutritional situation in East Aweil county and Tonj county (Bahr-el-Gazal) alarming. The humanitarian organisation urges the WFP to continue its food distributions in these regions.
On Monday, April 7, MSF opened a supplementary feeding centre (SFC) in Akuem, a town in East Aweil county, in Bahr-el-Gazal. In the past two weeks 1,035 people have been admitted to the SFC, and 213 children have been admitted to our therapeutic feeding centre (TFC). Faced with the large numbers of children needing nutritional support and medical surveillance, the MSF team plans to open two new centres soon; one SFC and one TFC.
A nutritional inquiry carried out in January confirmed that the nutritional situation was very fragile (13.3% global acute malnutrition and 1.7% severe acute malnutrition). Since the beginning of the year, monthly admissions to the TFC have increased from 46 children in January to 170 at the end of March, an average admissions rate two times higher than that for the first trimester in 2002.
In Marial-Lou, a town in Tonj, the deteriorating situation forced MSF to reopen its TFC at the beginning of March this year.
"With the rate of global acute malnutrition at 22.9% and the rate of severe acute malnutrition at 3.8%, all indicators point to a situation more critical than that of last year," explained Martine Chamorel, MSF’s medical coordinator in South Sudan. "In the first week of April we already had 86 children admitted to the TFC, double the number admitted last year during the same period".
The degradation in the nutritional situation is due to the poor harvests following periods of dryness. The situation is all the more worrying as the depletion of food stocks is occurring so early in the year, whilst the next harvests are not expected until September.
"The current situation is alarming," explained Philippe Ribiero, MSF Head of Mission in South Sudan. "It could become even more serious if general food distributions are not organised quickly."
On its part, the World Food Programme (WFP) undertook food distribution in East Aweil county in March. MSF finds it crucial for the WFP to continue with its general food distributions in a manner adapted to the population to ensure that the situation in the region does not deteriorate even more.