International Development written question – answered on 4th February 2004.

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Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will make a statement on the levels of (a) malnutrition, (b) disease and (c) destitution in Southern Sudan in (i) December 2001, (ii) December 2002 and (iii) December 2003.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn The Secretary of State for International Development

It was not possible to obtain the information on the overall levels of malnutrition in Southern Sudan for the month of December in the years requested. The following table lists rates of malnutrition for November through to February for the years indicated, and at the locations mentioned. These are from NGO surveys. As the NGOs would undertake surveys in areas where high levels of malnutrition were suspected they should not be taken as representative of the whole population. The rates give the proportion of children acutely malnourished. This approximates to the percentage of children who are less than 80 per cent. of the international reference weight for a given height:

Southern Sudan: Rates of malnutrition -- Percentage
County 2001 2002 2003
Aweil East 13.9 n/a 25
Aweil South n/a 21.1 22.1
Aweil West 13.9 n/a n/a
Gogrial 3 n/a n/a
Magwe 17 23.1 n/a
Northern Leech 16.4 n/a n/a
Phou State 16.8 n/a n/a
Sobat 23.4 n/a n/a
Twic 25.1 n/a n/a
Yirol 9.9 n/a n/a

The only year where we have information on levels of disease in December in Southern Sudan is 2002. Over that year there were outbreaks of measles and whooping cough reported, with 132 cases of whooping cough of whom two died, and 85 cases of measles with three deaths. There were also reports of rabies, but there are no actual numbers of cases affected. Basic health indicators in Southern Sudan are persistently very poor, and among the worst in Africa.

In the absence of information specifically related to destitution we have referred to the monthly report of the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, which provides information on those requiring emergency humanitarian assistance in the form of food aid. The December issue of this report usually gives the harvest assessment and the needs assessment for the following year. For 2001 the main findings were that emergency needs were linked to the presence of insecurity in parts of Bahr-el-Ghazal, Upper Nile and Eastern Equatoria. In 2002 below average harvest combined with insecurity resulted in persisting requirements for humanitarian relief in parts of Bahr-el-Ghazal, Upper Nile and Eastern Equatoria. In 2003 agricultural production was generally good, but need for emergency assistance remained in many communities in Upper Nile and Bahr-el-Ghazal.

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