SUDAN: UNICEF reports improved malnutrition 1998.12.18

SUDAN: UNICEF reports improved malnutrition 1998.12.18



Khartoum and Nairobi, 17th December 1998++ Nutrition surveys conducted by Operation Lifeline Sudan, under the lead of UNICEF, reveal a significant improvement in the nutritional condition of thousands of displaced people in the Bahr al Ghazal region of southern Sudan.+ Nonetheless, child malnutrition rates in several locations remain unacceptably high. The populationís condition is extremely fragile, and a renewed outbreak of fighting or lack of access to arable land, livestock, or food and medical assistance could reverse the progress made during the last several months.

A recent survey conducted by UNICEF, NGOs, and local authorities found 9.6% global malnutrition among displaced people, returnees, and local residents in Wau town.+ In the Eastern Bank Camp, which is inhabited primarily by displaced people, the global malnutrition rate is 27.8%.+ These figures indicate a remarkable improvement in comparison with a similar survey conducted in August, which found 43.4% global malnutrition in the town and recorded 71.6% global malnutrition among displaced people.

The picture from rebel-held areas of Bahr al Ghazal, where the majority of the famine-stricken+ populations are located, is more mixed.++ A nutritional survey conducted in September/October by UNICEF/OLS indicated that children in ten locations of northern Bahr al Ghazal had an average global malnutrition rate of 28.6%, down from 52.7% in May/June.++ However, the overall trend masks the fact that four locations - Adet, Marial Bai, Agaigai and Akot - recorded malnutrition rates of above 30% and some, such as Marial Bai, showed a deterioration since the survey in June.+ The most significant progress occurred in Twic county, which demonstrated a global malnutrition rate of 50% in June, but in October, the rate had dropped to 19.3%.++ In some areas, agencies responded to improvements by scaling down feeding programs.

"The improvements are due to prompt nutrition intervention programs established by UNICEF,+ WFP and the NGOs after the July cease-fire in the form of increased general food distribution, supplementary feeding and increased water and sanitation facilities," said Ted Chaiban, UNICEF Deputy Chief of Operations in OLS Southern Sector.+

UNICEF coordinates the supplementary and therapeutic feeding programs throughout southern Sudan to ensure that they meet the needs of the most vulnerable people.++ UNICEF also supplies UNIMIX (a special wheat/sugar/milk blend used to treat malnourished children), therapeutic milk, dried skim milk, and sugar to the feeding centers.+ In one location of Bahr al Ghazal, Akon, UNICEF directly runs a feeding centre for 400 children.

ìWhile OLS is very pleased with the reduction in malnutrition, we must remain vigilant and prepared to expand operations at any time,î said Mohammed Bendriss Alami, Chief of Field Operations at UNICEF-Khartoum.+ ìBahr al Ghazal remains a potentially insecure area where thousands of families depend on humanitarian assistance.î+ Together with NGOs, UNICEF plans to increase its household food security projects in 1999 to ensure that displaced and other vulnerable people can plant food, fish in the rivers, and herd livestock.+ OLS anticipates that these measures will replenish a portion of the resources lost during the famine and displacement that devastated parts of southern Sudan during 1998.

For additional information, please contact:

Julianna Lindsey, UNICEF Khartoum:+ + 249 11 47 18 35

Gillian Wilcox, UNICEF-OLS Nairobi:+ + 254 2 62 24 03

Elizabeth Kramer+ 254 2 62 24 10

Date: Fri, 18 Dec 1998 14:54:36 -0300 (GMT+3) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: SUDAN: UNICEF reports improved malnutrition 1998.12.18

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