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Sudan's import restrictions on relief affect malnourished kids in Darfur

September 10 - 2015 KHARTOUM / ED DAEIN
Internally displaced women hold their ration tickets while waiting for a World Food Programme distribution in Mastura, West Darfur, Sudan (Helen Caux/UNHCR)
Internally displaced women hold their ration tickets while waiting for a World Food Programme distribution in Mastura, West Darfur, Sudan (Helen Caux/UNHCR)

The authorities in Sudan are restricting import of aid supplies, like special cereals for malnourished children. The recently imposed regulations have already affected the nutrition programmes for children in East Darfur.

Because of a lack of cereals, the nutrition centre staff goes out to visit people and explain how to prevent malnutrition.

A committee with representatives of several UN agencies, including OCHA, will discuss solutions to this issue with the government. The import restrictions on relief items provided by the World Food Programme (WFP) are expected to continue at least until the end of October, the United Nations humanitarian office (OCHA) reported today.

So-called super cereals are provided to children with moderate to acute malnutrition to prevent further deterioration of their condition. Staff are currently shifted from feeding programmes to project based on non-food, such as training in child feeding practices, personal hygiene, and childcare, to treat malnutrition through these ways.

The WFP also decided to look for alternative, locally procured nutrition supplies.

The new restrictions in Sudan are mainly aimed at restricting international aid organisations to import supplies. The new regulations require a list be provided of all goods to be imported before the items are dispatched. This way the government of Sudan attempts to limit import of items that could be procured locally.

Earlier this week the UN food aid programme announced that it received mixed food items worth $75 million and a cash injection of $11 million from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Part of the funds will be used to buy specialised nutritious foods for the prevention of malnutrition among 37,000 displaced children and pregnant and nursing mothers across the three states.


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