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CAFOD warns of famine in Sudan

 Catholic aid workers are calling on the international community to deliver more aid to Sudan now to avert a major humanitarian crisis. Rob Rees, programme officer for Sudan, who has just returned from a factfinding mission in the country, said: "While there are clear signs of an alarming rise in the cases of child malnutrition, our partners insist there is still time to prevent a humanitarian calamity on the scale of the 1998 famine - if the international community acts now. "In 1996, CAFOD held a major fundraising campaign on Sudan. The posters featured a group of Sudanese children under the logo: 'Thirsting for Peace'. It is tragic that five years later the children of Sudan continue to be the innocent victims of war and drought. World leaders must show the same determination to bring peace to Sudan as they have shown in the Middle East and the Balkans." The nutritional survey carried out by CAFOD partners in May this year reveals that over 20% of children in Northern Bahr El Ghazal are malnourished and nearly 3% are showing signs of severe malnutrition. The number of children arriving at feeding centres has risen sharply in the past month and there are strong signs that food is becoming scarce in the community. Workers saw mothers cooking wild fruits and nuts because they didn't have enough food. Eye infections and ringworm are a common sight among children. The rivers are running dry and clean water is scarce. Many of the most acute cases of hunger and malnutrition are among those people forced to abandon their homes because of the on-going civil war. Having lost their food, livestock and other means of supporting themselves, they now depend on aid. In response to this latest crisis, CAFOD's partners are setting up feeding centres to provide life-saving treatment for up to 20,000 displaced children. But the relief work is hampered by the logistics of working in such an under-developed region. Supplies often have to be flown in because the rains make many roads impassable. For more information about CAFOD's work visit their website through our links pages.