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Humanitarian Crisis in Sudan

April 9, 2010

Temple Daily Telegram

Emaciated children signal crisis in north African country

by Jason Straziuso Associated Press  Copyright
Published: April 9, 2010
Odong Obong, barely 3 days old, is tended to by his mother on Thursday as he lays under a mosquito net with his triplet brothers, Opiew and Ochan, in a hospital ward in Akobo, Southern Sudan. Two years of drought and tribal clashes in this Sudan region bordering Ethiopia have laid foundations for a humanitarian crisis the U.N. mission dubs the “hungriest place on earth.” A recent survey found that almost 46 percent of children in the region are malnourished. (Jerome Delay/Associated Press)
AKOBO, Sudan – Three-day-old Odong Obong lay in the hospital bed, his pencil-thin arms almost motionless and his shriveled, gaunt face resembling that of an elderly man.Emaciated babies and young children throughout the ward bore the signs of hunger: exposed ribs and distended stomachs. Outside, old villagers reclined motionless in the shade, too frail to walk.

The U.N. calls this the “hungriest place on Earth” after years of drought and conflict, with aid agencies already feeding 80,000 people here. A doctor says the worst is yet to come.

Two years of failed rains and tribal clashes have laid the foundation for Africa’s newest humanitarian crisis. The World Food Program quadrupled its assistance levels from January to March in the Akobo region of southeastern Sudan.

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