The conflict between the Sudanese Army and their military rival, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which erupted in April, has forcibly displaced 1.7 million children within Sudan, with more than 470,000 seeking refuge across the border.
**Immediate Response Crucial**
The scale of these displacements, along with the countless children trapped in the violence’s grip, underscores the pressing need for a united response, emphasized Mandeep O’Brien, UNICEF Country Representative in Sudan.
O’Brien stated, “We are hearing unimaginable stories from children and families, some of whom lost everything and had to watch their loved ones die in front of their eyes. We said it before, and we are saying it again: we need peace now for children to survive.”
UNICEF relentlessly appeals to the warring factions to prioritize the safety and well-being of children, ensure their protection, and facilitate unimpeded humanitarian access to affected regions.
**Conflict Hinders Aid Efforts**
UNICEF recently warned that a staggering 14 million children in Sudan urgently require humanitarian assistance. This immense number of children faces multiple threats and harrowing experiences each day.
Beyond conflict hotspots like Darfur and the capital, Khartoum, the intense fighting has spread to other densely populated areas, including regions within South and West Kordofan states. This situation is obstructing aid delivery and access to those in dire need.
Humanitarian experts estimate that between July and September, around 20.3 million people in Sudan will be food insecure, based on the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report. Consequently, nearly 10 million children’s health and nutrition conditions are anticipated to deteriorate.
**Threat of Outbreaks**
With the onset of the rainy season, floods have ravaged many homes, displacing an increasing number of families. The rainy season heightens the risk of disease outbreaks like cholera, dengue, Rift Valley fever, and chikungunya.
Presently, nearly 9.5 million children in Sudan lack access to safe drinking water, and approximately 3.4 million children under the age of five are at high risk of contracting diarrheal diseases and cholera.
Moreover, ongoing violence is obstructing the provision of health and nutrition services, gravely endangering millions of young lives.
**Healthcare Under Strain**
In Khartoum, as well as in the Darfur and Kordofan regions, less than one-third of health facilities operate at full capacity. Security concerns and displacement are preventing patients and healthcare workers from accessing hospitals, with many facilities even being attacked and destroyed.
Sudan’s 11 other states are grappling with overwhelmed healthcare systems as displaced masses move to areas less affected by conflict. Shortages of medications and supplies, including critical life-saving items, are reported across all states.
**Combating a “Lethal Combination”**
Disease outbreaks, including measles, are resurging in areas with high internal displacement and strained healthcare systems, such as the Blue and White Nile states.
The convergence of measles and malnutrition is proving perilous for young lives, warranting immediate intervention.
UNICEF is urgently seeking $400 million over the next 100 days to expand support in Sudan. Since the conflict erupted, the organization’s staff has been offering education, protection, healthcare, water, sanitation, and hygiene services to over four million children, mothers, and families throughout the country.