Half-Million May Face Famine in Sudan
US envoy warns of 'colossal disaster'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2012 1:35 PM CST
A toddler sits on the lap of his mother as she sits in a ward along with other mothers tending to children suffering from severe malnutrition in the southeast Sudanese town of Akobo on April 10, 2010.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – A tragic byproduct of the conflict in Sudan: If humanitarian organizations are not allowed in soon, half a million people could face near-famine by March. "There is a looming humanitarian disaster in Sudan," says the US envoy to Sudan, who is pushing for African intervention in the country. The government says it is too risky to allow NGOs to operate in the dangerous border areas, where fighting continued even after South Sudan gained independence.

The envoy urged South Africa to take the lead and help prevent "colossal disaster," CNN reports. "Africa needs to speak with one voice," he says. "Africa needs to say, 'We cannot allow this to happen.'" The Sudanese ambassador to South Africa warns, however, that if outside forces put too much pressure on the country, "you could have a situation worse than Somalia."