BOB ABERNETHY: In the wake of a temporary cease-fire in Sudan's civil war, international aid groups have begun emergency famine relief efforts. Aid officials say about 1.5 million people are at risk of starvation there, but as Kim Lawton reports, it's a situation mired in tough ethical questions.
KIM LAWTON: No one disputes the devastation of Sudan's latest famine. Hundreds are dying every day. These pictures were taken just last week by a delegation [from] World Relief, a U.S.-based Christian aid group. The delegation was led by the group's president, Clive Calver.
CLIVE CALVER (President, World Relief): I don't think I've ever seen a situation as bad as Sudan. I felt like the Americans must have felt when they arrived at Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps. I watched skeletons walking.
LAWTON: Numerous agencies launched massive relief efforts, trying to send in as much food and medical aid as possible before the current window of opportunity closes. But doing relief work in Sudan can be a complicated endeavor. Fifteen years of civil war between the National Islamic Front government in the north and the mainly Christian and animist rebels in the south have exacerbated the famine. Food often becomes the deadliest weapon in the ongoing conflict.
Journalist Michael Maren, a former aid worker in Africa, has been highly critical of much of the relief work in Sudan.
MICHAEL MAREN (Journalist): What relief efforts end up doing is eventually catering a war.
LAWTON: Sudan's temporary truce was declared to allow relief aid to come in, but that often means the government or the rebels dictate how, when, and where aid is delivered.
Mr. MAREN: Well, there's a food spigot. They can turn it on and turn it off so that people in all of these places end up depending on the government or depending on the rebels, you know, for food, and people know it. Famine in Africa is political, and unless we address it politically, what we're doing is feeding the famine by sending food, in fact, and feeding the war, which is causing the famine.