Radio Dabanga (Hilversum)

16 August 2013

Sudan: OCHA Boss - Sudan Malnutrition Rate Above Emergency Threshold

Khartoum — In preparation of the World Humanitarian Day, held every year on 19 August, the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Mark Cutts held a a press conference in Khartoum highlighting challenges Sudan still faces.

Read below a summary of the press conference, delivered by Mr Cutts:

OCHA assists more than 4.5 million people in Sudan. War violence, and conflicts made more than 2 million people flee their homes in Darfur since 2003, OCHA estimates. At least 1.4 million are still living in displaced camps. In South Kordofan and Blue Nile over a million people have been displaced or severely affected by the war since Septmber 2011.

Fourty-seven aid workers have been killed in Darfur since 2003, 139 have been injured, and 71 have been abducted. Two Sudanese aid workers were killed in Nyala in South Darfur only one month ago. In Unamid, since 2007, 51 peacekeepers have been killed. Thirteen of those were killed in the last year.

The Sudanese government estimates that 1.8 million children are out of school in the country. Many of them are in places like Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

The overall level of malnutrition throughout Sudan is 16%, a latest government survey indicates. This is higher than the 15% emergency threshold considered by the World Health Organization. Rates are even higher in other states of Sudan, such as the Red Sea state in the east of the country. The UN, working with the Ministry of Health and other ministries in government, estimates that there are about 750,000 children suffering from severe malnutrition in 2013.

More than five million people in Sudan do not have adequate access to basic health services. The number of trained health personnel in Darfur is 5 times lower than the benchmark given by the UN's World Health Organization.

Khartoum has been particularly badly affected by the rain this year; these are the worst floods the city has seen since the Nile burst its banks in 1988. In Khartoum over 85,000 people had to leave their houses because they were either damaged or completely destroyed.

OCHA has been providing assistance by trucking water, chlorination for water supply systems, tents, plastic sheeting, water cans, buckets and other household items. Unicef has been providing tens of thousands of mosquito nets.

Other badly hit places also include Al Gezira, where entire villages are under-water or surrounded by water. There are also people affected in places as far away as North Darfur. Some of the affected places are remote and very difficult to reach.

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