Published: Saturday 15 August 1998

Millions of people in Sudan are facing starvation following an outbreak of famine in the country. Aid agencies had warned just four months back about the impending famine in southern Sudan. A United Nations (UN) projection showed that about 1.2 million people are in danger of death from hunger across the country, unsettled by civil war and erratic weather. The total number of people in danger has increased four-fold in the past two months.

Ever since the warning was sounded, UN cargo planes have flown almost constantly, dropping bags of cereals and high-calorie mix at three times any previous rate. This aid is not sufficient to meet the demand. Last year, the World Food Programme could only raise about 50 per cent of its appeal from donors.

The UN officials have acknowledged the shortfall. The last food drop at Ajiep, Sudan, was only sufficient for 18 days. But when the food in Ajiep began to run out two weeks ago, resupply was still weeks away. Death rates in southwestern Sudan have steadily gone up.

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