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Another 17,000 Extremely Vulnerable People Without Assistance in Darfur, Sudan

New York, February 26, 2004 - Every assessment conducted by teams from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) discovers newly displaced people living in extremely precarious conditions. Nearly 17,000 people have gathered recently in Krenik and Sisi, northwest of Mornay in Sudan's Darfur region. They have no access to drinking water and there is not enough food or medical assistance for them to survive. MSF has also counted 44 fresh graves - 17 for young children, which indicates a very high mortality rate.

Without urgent medical, food and water and sanitation assistance, these people's lives are threatened. MSF is ready to provide medical assistance, as well as to distribute drinking water and emergency non-food items, provide emergency care for the malnourished, and vaccinate children against measles. Such assistance is not possible, though, unless MSF can rapidly reinforce its teams.

Over the past two months, MSF has seen nearly 115,000 displaced gathered in different locations between Nyala and El Genina. As of today, the team of 9 volunteers has only been able to provide assistance to the 45,000 displaced in Mornay and the 15,000 displaced in Zalinge.

Without immediate, large-scale support from other aid organisations the already alarming situation in Darfur will continue to deteriorate. MSF's team in Mornay is already treating 159 severely malnourished children and 450 moderately malnourished children. Every day, more children are admitted for treatment, and the team is reporting a marked increase in the degree of malnutrition in just the past two months. There is an imminent risk that the nutritional situation will deteriorate even further.

Since mid December 2003, MSF has been one of the only aid agencies providing assistance in the accessible areas of Darfur. An international team of 9 international volunteers and dozens of Sudanese staff conduct 100 consultations everyday in Zalinge and Mornay, and are setting up distribution of potable water and emergency non-food items like jerrycans, blankets, and soap. They are also providing nutritional assistance and have vaccinated 13,400 children against measles. Assessment missions have also been carried out in Bindisi, Dereish-Garcila, Mukjar, Krenik and Sisi. Four more volunteers arrived today to provide assistance to the displaced people in Garcila.