Home | News    Thursday 9 December 2004

Sudanese refugees in Chad bring severe diet problems

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 8, 2004 (PANA) — The influx of Sudanese refugees in Chad has led to a severe nutritional crisis for the local populations, culminating in 40 percent of Chadian children suffering from malnutrition, the UN reports.

A Sudanese girl peeks over the wall of her hut in the Internally Displaced Persons(IDP) camp of Krinding, on the outskirts of the western town of El-Geneina, near the border with Chad. (AFP).

A just completed joint UNHCR-WFP survey says that a series of
factors, including two consecutive poor rain seasons, have
decimated cattle, overused grazing lands and depleted food
reserves from sharing with the refugees have led to the severe food scarcity.

Consequently, the UN is calling for concerted efforts to help
destitute Chadians living near refugee camps and along the border with Sudan.

Some 186,000 Sudanese nationals fleeing the conflict in the
western Sudan region of Darfur are living in 11 refugee camps in Chad.

The conflict in Darfur, partly attributed to scramble for scarce
resources between neighbouring pastoral and farming communities,
is viewed by the UN as one of the worst humanitarian crisis in
recent times.

The international community, led by the UN and the African Union
(AU) is consequently calling for speedy resolution of the
conflict.

The UN underscored the need for giving the local population
access to the supplementary feeding programme in refugee camps.

On a positive note, the report released by the UNHCR
spokesperson Ron Redmond, says the nutritional health of Sudanese
in eastern Chad has stabilised and malnutrition levels among
refugee children have declined.

"The mission noted a decline in the number of admissions to
therapeutic feeding centres in the camps, improvements in the
food distribution pipeline, vaccination campaigns and an
improvement in water quality," says the report.

The June study indicated that 38.8 percent of the children
surveyed suffered from global acute malnutrition, while another
6.4 percent showed severe acute malnutrition.

Ten percent malnutrition and about two percent severe
malnutrition are considered normal levels during a humanitarian
emergency.

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