The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) yesterday warned that more than 13.6 million children in Sudan are in urgent need of life-saving humanitarian support, the highest number ever recorded in the country.
UNICEF said the need for humanitarian assistance is more important than ever for children in Sudan, as the most vulnerable struggle to survive and protect themselves.
It added that it has become increasingly difficult to secure access to basic necessities, noting that the number of children who were in urgent need of humanitarian assistance before the conflict was about nine million.
“As the conflict in Sudan rages on, the toll on children continues to grow more devastating by the day,” said Adele Khodr, UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“These children are not just numbers, they are individuals with families, dreams and aspirations. They are the future of Sudan, and we cannot stand by while their lives are torn apart by violence. The children of Sudan deserve a chance to survive and thrive. No efforts should be spared by all actors to protect the children and their rights,” she added.
— Adele Khodr (@AdeleKhodr) May 31, 2023
According to the statement, the situation, which was already dire for children before the conflict, is now at catastrophic levels, with access to food, safe water, electricity and telecommunications unreliable, inaccessible and unaffordable.
“Over one million people have fled their homes and are internally displaced in Sudan, including 319,000 who have crossed into neighbouring countries so far, half of whom are believed to be children,” the statement said.
It warned that without an immediate and extensive humanitarian response, the consequences of displacement, lack of basic social services, and protection will have devastating – and long-term – effects on children.
UNICEF announced that the overall appeal has increased by $253 million to meet the additional urgent needs, including to expand the treatment of over 620,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition, half of whom may die if not helped in time.
Since mid-April, Sudan has been witnessing clashes between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), with sporadic ceasefires to provide relief and humanitarian assistance to the population.
The fighting has killed 865 civilians and injured 3,634 others, according to the latest data from the Sudan Doctors Syndicate.