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UN world food program director in Sudan Masood Hyder
"The window of opportunity for a response is very limited"
 real 56k

Thursday, 29 March, 2001, 15:21 GMT 16:21 UK
Sudan famine warning
Sudanese rebels
A long running civil war is putting off donors
By developing world correspondent David Loyn

Sudan is facing the prospect of a serious famine in the coming months.

The warning comes from the UN World Food Programme who have been unable to raise the funds they need to feed three million people who are now under threat in the North African state.

People are on the move trying to find food and they have already eaten the seeds which they need to plant the next harvest.

The UN's World Food Programme first sounded an alert for Sudan last November.

Donor fatigue

They appealed for $135m worth of food, but the civil war between the Islamist government in Khartoum and its opposition in the south has gone on too long for donor countries to care.

Only 1% of the money was raised and now the WFP is warning of a famine which could kill more people than any disaster in the country since the mid-1980s.

The head of the WFP in Sudan, Massood Haider, in London to try to raise money, said it is not just the war which is making life difficult but the weather.

A prolonged drought has left major reservoirs empty, in a worse state than at any time in more than 50 years.

Mr Haider said the clock is ticking. His food warehouses are empty and people will die on a large scale by July unless there is a swift response by rich countries.

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17 Jan 00 | Africa
Sudan's decades of war
21 Jan 01 | Africa
New appeal for drought-hit Sudan
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