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Malnutrition Rises in Darfur

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Malnutrition Rises in Darfur

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In Sudan’s Darfur region, malnutrition among children ages six months to five years has increased over the past year, despite massive humanitarian aid efforts.

Since 2003, more than 200,000 people have been killed in the conflict between ethnic African rebels and the military of the Arab-led Khartoum government.

Studies show that of the children affected by ongoing clashes, 16.1% suffer from acute malnutrition—up from 12.9% in 2006. This is the first time since 2004, a year after the conflict started, that the rate has surpassed the World Health Organization’s 15% “emergency threshold.” In 2004 the rate hit 21.8%.

Every year, $1 billion in aid is sent to Darfur, along with 13,000 aid workers from the United Nations and humanitarian agencies, providing food and medical help for some 2.5 million people driven from their homes.

About 7,000 understaffed and under-equipped African Union peacekeepers have been in Darfur since 2004, but have largely been unable to provide protection for civilians and aid workers.

Attacks on humanitarian workers increased 150% in 2007, according to the UN. In these attacks…

  • at least 12 aid workers have been killed

  • 100 have been kidnapped

  • 66 have been assaulted or raped

  • 60 aid convoys have been ambushed

  • 100 vehicles have been hijacked

Subsequently, several aid groups reduced their staff, blaming their decrease on the many armed groups of both rebel and military forces in Darfur.

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