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mia farrow

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August 25, 2010

Even in a part of the world where hunger is common these numbers are shocking

The photo was taken this year in Mao, in the western Kanem region of Chad.
24 August 2010 (IRIN) - In parts of Chad acute malnutrition levels far exceed the         
 international emergency threshold, according to a new study – fallout, partly, from crop failure
 hitting already fragile communities where access to basic health services is low and aid agencies
 are scarce.                                                                                      
 The study, by Action contre la Faim (ACF) along with the government, donors and UN agencies,     
 showed that in Nokou and Mao in the western Kanem region, acute malnutrition strikes 27.2 percent
 and 21 percent of under-five children, respectively. The figures for severe acute malnutrition –
 which commonly results in death if untreated – are 6.4 and 4.7 percent.                          
 The highest numbers are in the central-west Barh El Gazel region, where 28.1 percent of children
 are acutely malnourished – 10.4 percent severe.                                                  
 Even in a part of the world where periods of grave hunger are common, the recent survey numbers  
 Malnutrition rates are higher than in neighboring Niger, another West African country where poor
 food and fodder production from 2009 has destabilized agro-pastoralist communities who already   
 live on next to nothing during lean seasons. In Chad, UNICEF says, under-nutrition is also due to
 poor access to health services and safe drinking water, inappropriate infant feeding practices   
 and a lack of trained staff in hard-hit areas.                                                   
 Malnutrition has been above the 15 percent threshold in Chad for a decade, according to UNICEF.  
Aid groups have been focused on the emergency in eastern Chad, where over 400,000 Darfur        
 refugees and displaced Chadians live.  UNICEF has long pointed to the lack of aid partners as a barrier to tackling acute      
 malnutrition in Chad.                                                                            
  People in Chad are doing the very best they can, but the terrifying scarcity of water and shrinking of arable land is the cause of new levels of starvation. The first to die are always the small children.                                                           
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