Ev­ery day in Dar­fur 80 chil­dren die: UN

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - World -

MEL­LIT, Su­dan (AP) — Myr­iam Ibrahim does not like to talk about her daugh­ter Fawzia.

The small­est of triplet girls born in May, the in­fant died last month in Dar­fur. Now, the 28-year-old mother has just a week of pow­dered milk for her two re­main­ing ba­bies — and no idea how she will feed them af­ter­ward.

“Fawzia started hav­ing fever, then di­ar­rhea, and then she died. It was a month ago,” Ibrahim said with the soft, sad smile so com­mon to Dar­furian women as they re­count their sur­vival.

Each day in Dar­fur, 80 chil­dren un­der age five die be­cause of mal­nu­tri­tion, dis­ease and gen­er­ally poor liv­ing con­di­tions cre­ated by vi­o­lence in this bar­ren re­gion of west­ern Su­dan, the UN Chil­dren’s Fund es­ti­mates.

When Ibrahim gave birth to her triplets in May, stress and lack of food left her with no milk of her own for her daugh­ters.

Af­ter emer­gency care at the hospi­tal, the triplets and their mother went back to their home­town of Mel­lit, about 50 kilo­me­tres north.

But when Ibrahim, who has three other chil­dren, re­turned to Mel­lit, the vi­o­lence in the re­gion had driven off aid work­ers, and she was among some 350,000 peo­ple who were de­prived of any med­i­cal or food aid.

Thir­teen hu­man­i­tar­ian work­ers were kille­dover­the­sum­mer­due­tore­be­lin­fight­ing and a large gov­ern­ment of­fen­sive.

“Lack of ac­cess and the hu­man­i­tar­ian pull­out likely means that child mor­tal­ity is go­ing to go up again rapidly,” said Jonathan Vi­etch, the UNICEF emer­gency chief for Su­dan.

More than 200,000 peo­ple have been killed and 2.5 mil­lion dis­placed in three years of fight­ing be­tween the gov­ern­ment and rebels in Dar­fur.

An ill-equipped and un­der­staffed African Union peace­keep­ing force has tried with­out suc­cess to quell the vi­o­lence.

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