Sudan Faces Permanent Humanitarian Crisis

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ROME, JUNE 23, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Caritas is affirming that the poverty and warring in the region of Darfur and the south of Sudan have reached a level that qualifies as a permanent humanitarian crisis.



Catholic leaders from Sudan and Caritas members held a two-day meeting that ended today at the agency's Vatican headquarters, in order to discuss how to respond to this crisis in the most effective way.

Bishop Edward Kussala of Tombura-Yambio, Sudan, affirmed that the country is facing a lot of challenges.

"There is an ongoing humanitarian crisis," he said. "People don't have access to health care, education, water and protection from high levels of violence."

The agency reported that 16% of the population is south Sudan is malnourished, and nine out of ten people live on less than $1 a day.

It noted that in 2007, the region had the highest maternal mortality rate in the world, with some 203 women dying for every 10,000 births.

The bishop affirmed that the Church and Caritas "are the only sources of education, health and social services."

The agency reported that only half of the 4 million refugees who fled during conflicts in the south have returned home.

In Darfur in the west, some 2.7 million people are displaced from their homes due to ongoing fighting.