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Washington Reacts Slowly to New Famine Crisis

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While President Clintonĺs foreign policy team debates how to prevent the fighting in Kosovo from killing tens of thousands of Albanian refugees, a larger humanitarian disaster is unfolding in the Sudan. International relief organizations estimate that 2.6 million people, many of them children, are in danger of starving to death in southern Sudan, which has been hammered this year by El Niño-induced drought and a long-festering civil war. "We've got a hellacious famine on our hands," worries Roger Winter, director of the U.S. Committee for Refugees. The U.N. and U.S. have been slow to react to the crisis. Washington, which has slapped trade sanctions on the extremist Islamic regime in Khartoum, has recently increased its humanitarian aid to $70 million for this year. Even if relief is rushed in, aid officials estimate that up to 100,000 may still die.