Ethiopia + 1 more

Critical malnutrition found in Ethiopian refugee camps - UN

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Critical malnutrition is widespread in two camps that house an estimated 50,000 Sudanese refugees in the southwestern part of Ethiopia, according to a survey by United Nation agencies and the Ethiopian Government, and the UN food agency is urgently transporting blended foods to the camps in response.

Acute malnutrition levels of up to 20 percent were found in the Fugnido and Bonga camps in the Gambella region, according to the nutritional survey, which was conducted by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) the World Food Programme (WFP), and the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA).

According to humanitarian sources, the situation has been caused by delayed delivery of food due to transport problems, insecurity both inside and outside the Fugnido camp and a lack of basic health and safe water services.

WFP says that the blended food it is rushing to the camps will provide a supplementary feeding programme for all children under five, and will also help to continue a supplementary feeding programme for pregnant and nursing women. It is also building up food supplies for the long rainy season which begins in three months.

UNHCR is providing water by tankers until basic services are installed in all sections of the camp, it said.

Confirmed contributions for blended food, however, can only cover needs for the next two months, according to WFP. It said new contributions are needed to avert a further deterioration of the nutritional situation in the refugee communities.