Famine in Sudan, Africa
Starving children in Ajiep campground
Year 2000

"AJIEP, Southern Sudan (CNN) -- This is the destination for thousands of starving Sudanese who journey from areas throughout famine-stricken Bahr al-Ghazal in search of food. Despite aid effort, Sudan famine squeezing life from dozens daily."

"Ajiep is a purgatory -- a campground for more than 7,000 malnourished people, naked or clothed in rags, who await food, or certain death. Some officials estimate at least 12 people a day die from starvation. Other reports have put the estimate at more than 100 deaths a day."

"With not enough food to go around, aid workers sometimes use a stick to determine who eats. Smaller, weaker children are given dry cereal. Those taller than the stick are turned away. 'There are so many children arriving every day,' one nurse said. 'If I didn't just focus on the job in front of me I would break down.'

Food deliveries do not come often to Ajiep. The United Nations air dropped aid last week for the first time in 40 days. Most of the thousands of tons of food that comes to Southern Sudan each month is air dropped. On the ground, aid workers armed with short-wave radios and satellite telephones try to organize distribution. But moving the food once it's on the ground is difficult. Infrastructure has been wrecked by drought and a 15-year civil war. In some areas, it can take nearly an hour to drive a mere 10 miles (15 km).

'We know that there is among the population, stealing going on because there's only a certain population that's getting the food," Malini Morzaria, of Medicins Sans Frontieres, told CNN. 'We know that the vulnerable that are arriving every day are not getting food.' "

Catherine Bond, 2000
CNN


Sudan's Famine Overwhelms Aid Effort
Year 1998

"Four months after aid agencies issued warnings of impending famine in southern Sudan -- and two months after they marshaled public opinion in the name of heading it off -- starvation has arrived regardless. Across a vast region unsettled by civil war and erratic weather, the United Nations now says, 1.2 million people are at risk of death from hunger. The total is four times the population declared at risk when the alarm was sounded two months ago.

Since then, U.N. cargo planes have flown almost constantly, dropping bags of cereals and high-calorie mix at three times any previous rate. By all accounts it remains too little.

'It's getting worse,' said Charlotte Kragboll, a Danish nurse who spends her days trying to cull the most dire cases from hundreds who gather in 100-degree heat outside the gates in Ajiep. The village is located in Bahr el Ghazal, the southwest Sudanese province hardest hit by food shortages."

Karl Vick, 1998
Washington Post Foreign Service
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The extreme optimism by those who support Julian Simon does not seem justified by the evidence as seen in many parts of the world. One wonders which penthouse in New York Simon developed his ever-so-optimistic fantasies. No one wants to hear any pessimistic predictions, especially those who profit handsomly from environmental exploitation. It is easier to resort to catch words such as "doomsayer" in order to belittle the vast majority of scientists...all in the name of progress and profit.

It is easy to blame conflict as the primary cause of these famines. But look at the age distribution of Sudan:


AGE DISTRIBUTION OF SUDAN IN 2003
(age groups shown in middle column)

As you can see, almost half of Sudan's population is less than 16 years of age, far greater than necessary to replace those of reproductive ages. The doubling time for the population of Sudan is every 36 years. No amount of technology nor advancements in agriculture will ever keep up with that rate of population increase, no matter how optimistic the economists may be. Does this look like the utopia Julian Simon envisions?? If you think Simon is so damn right, then we should go to Sudan and tell the people to shape up, stop feeling sorry for themselves and get down to business. After all as Simon says, "The more people alive who can be trained to help solve the problems that confront us, the faster we can remove obstacles, and the greater the economic inheritance we shall bequeath to our descendants." So, people of Sudan, multiply, multiply and multiply some more.

If you think Sudan is an isolated and unusual exception in the world of nations, try looking at Ethiopia, Somalia, India, China, North Korea or Bangladesh.