(AGI) Rome, July 7 - Italy's aid agency, the DirectorateGeneral for Development Cooperation (DGCS) has launched ahealth project and a food project in eastern Sudan in thestates of Kassala, Gedaref and Red Sea worth a total of 2.8million euros. Eastern Sudan is a vast area with the worstinfant and maternal mortality rates and widespreadmalnutrition. Famine has decimated both population andlivestock over the past decades. The extreme poverty and lackof food has also been aggravated by refugees, mostly fromEritrea. The DGCS has been working in this area since 2007providing medical support and establishing strong ties withlocal communities. The object is to concentrate resources, asmuch as possible, in a specific geographic area, concentratingsynergies and complementing different and concerned sectors inan effort to produce sustainable and effective development. Thenew health project, worth 2.1 million euros, will be manageddirectly by the Italian embassy through its technicalcooperation office and will support the development of healthsystems in the three affected states. It will contribute toimprove infant and maternal health, facilitating access tohealth services, increasing quality and improving themanagement capacity of local health authorities. The secondproject, worth 700,000 euros, will be managed by the World FoodProgram and will strengthen food security in the vulnerablepopulations of Kassala and Red Sea who have been affected byconflict and natural disasters.. .