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Sudan: Alarming levels of malnutrition in parts of Darfur

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DEC agencies urge public to keep giving to help those in need before downpours arrive.

Levels of malnutrition in children in some parts of Darfur and Chad are alarmingly high due to chronic food shortages, aid agencies warned today.

According to a recent nutrition survey by Tearfund at El Neem camp in Ed Daien, South Darfur, 30 per cent of babies are malnourished - double the level considered to be an emergency. The situation has been described as "deeply serious" by Tearfund, who say the problem has been made worse because at least 30,000 new arrivals have poured into the camps in the last few months.

Nigel Timmins, Tearfund's Operation Manager for Darfur, said: "I was at the El Neem camp a few weeks ago. Mothers sat there with their children. To them their child is the centre of their universe and to not be able to feed them is heart breaking. It's such a basic instinct to want to take care of your child, and they desperately need to know that someone is going to look after them. By supporting this appeal, you really are saving lives and keeping families together. I believe we have a moral obligation to stand with them- they're real people caught up in an ongoing conflict. They have lives, hopes and futures, and we need to persevere and see this through."

Tearfund has been working in Darfur since 2004, providing vital feeding programmes, ensuring people have access to water and sanitation, educating people about health and hygiene and making sure people have seeds and tools to begin to be able to feed themselves.

By donating just £80, you could feed five critically malnourished children for one month. Aid agencies such as Tearfund are on the ground and can help save lives with your help.

You can donate to the Darfur and Chad Crisis Appeal by calling 0870 60 60 900 (national call rates), visiting www.dec.org.uk or donating at any post office or high street bank. Cheques made payable to Darfur and Chad Crisis can be sent to PO BOX 999, London, EC3A 3AA.