Eastern Chad, 5 October, 2004 – Nearly 200,000 Sudanese children, women and men are living in refugee camps in Eastern Chad, many of them suffering from starvation and malnutrition. They are dying at an alarming rate as the conflict in Darfur continues to destroy communities and lives.
UNICEF and partner agencies have found that more than one-third of the children living in refugee camps are acutely malnourished, putting their lives at risk. Children who are weakened by severe or moderate malnutrition are much more vulnerable to infectious diseases and diarrhoea.
When children suffer from malnutrition, they need more than ordinary food. Progress is faster when a good supplementary feeding treatment is available. UNICEF has provided therapeutic milk and vitamin and mineral supplements, which are being used at feeding centres in the camps in this area.
In order to assess the severity of malnutrition in any given case, the exact age, height and weight of the child must be determined. UNICEF has provided centres with equipment needed to get this information, including weighing scales.
These supplies are key to the survival of Darfur’s children in the dire situation they face. Proper assessment of nutritional state is the only way to assess the impact of the nutritional programmes.
But as long as the conflict goes on, malnutrition and starvation will continue to take the lives of Darfur’s youngest generation.