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Thursday, 14 May, 1998, 16:51 GMT 17:51 UK
Appeal for Sudan famine victims
Sudanese villagers desperate for food
Sudan's starving in the grip of famine
A UN children's charity has appealed for aid for thousands of people caught up in the Sudan famine crisis.

The United Nations Children's Fund said tens of thousands of children are at risk in the southern part of the country as crops have been poor and thousands of families have been displaced through fighting.

Starving Sudanese children
Unicef wants to help Sudan's children
Launching the fresh appeal in London, a charity spokeswoman said only 50 per cent of the aid needed to help the 350,000 starving people was reaching the area.

This was because of lack of funds and because of the time it took to airlift the huge amount of supplies needed.

She said: "Our main concerns are for women and children. The situation is changing day by day."

Sudan has been torn apart by a civil war for 15 years, intensifying the suffering of the hungry people.

The UN will not step in because it does not have the consent of the warring parties necessary for the despatch of a peacekeeping force.

Earlier this month, hopes of feeding the starving people rose when both sides in the war pledged to allow unrestricted emergency food supplies to be airlifted in.

But a BBC correspondent in the region says it may be four months before aid workers will be able to tell whether the new supplies can avert a total disaster.

The fresh UNICEF appeal was launched by Carl Tinstman, the Operation Lifeline Sudan co-ordinator, at a meeting at the House of Commons chaired by Labour MP Oona King.

He is responsible for ensuring aid deliveries for all 32 aid agencies working in the famine-stricken area of Africa.

See also:

02 May 98 | From Our Own Correspondent
Sudan reforms - are they enough?
21 Feb 99 | Analysis
Sudan: Background
04 May 98 | Africa
Hopes of averting famine rise
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