UNICEF says that 700,000 children in Sudan face life-threatening malnutrition UNICEF News
As the war continues, the UN agency warns that tens of thousands of children “will likely die” if more aid is not provided to them.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned that at least 700,000 children in Sudan are likely to suffer from the worst forms of malnutrition this year, and tens of thousands could die.
Sudan’s 10-month-long war between its armed forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces has devastated the country’s infrastructure, sparked famine warnings and displaced millions of people inside and outside the country.
“The consequences of the past 300 days mean that more than 700,000 children are likely to suffer from the most serious forms of malnutrition this year,” UNICEF spokesman James Elder said at a press conference in Geneva on Friday.
“UNICEF will not be able to treat more than 300,000 of those who cannot be reached better and without additional support. In this case, tens of thousands are likely to die.”
Elder defined the most dangerous form of malnutrition as severe acute malnutrition, which makes the child more vulnerable to death from diseases such as cholera and malaria. He added that 3.5 million children are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition.
UNICEF is providing Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food, or RUTF, a life-saving food item that treats severe wasting in children under five, to Sudan.
There has also been a “500 percent increase” in just one year in murders, sexual violence and the recruitment of children to fight, Elder said.
“This equates to horrific numbers of children who were killed, raped or recruited. These numbers are the tip of the iceberg,” he said, stressing the urgent need for a ceasefire and more aid.
Catherine Russell, Executive Director of UNICEF, echoed Elder’s comments.
She warned in a statement that the “deadly combination of malnutrition, mass displacement and disease” was rapidly increasing.
“We need safe, sustainable and unhindered humanitarian access across conflict lines and across borders – and we need international support to help maintain the essential services and systems that children depend on to survive,” she said.
UNICEF is appealing for $840 million to help just over 7.5 million children in Sudan this year, but Elder lamented the lack of funds raised in previous appeals.
“Despite the scale of the needs, last year, the funding UNICEF sought for about three-quarters of children in Sudan was not available,” Elder said.
The United Nations on Wednesday urged countries not to forget civilians trapped in the war in Sudan, and appealed for $4.1 billion to meet their humanitarian needs and support those who have fled to neighboring countries.
Half of Sudan’s population – about 25 million people – need humanitarian assistance and protection, while more than 1.5 million people have fled to the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Sudan, according to the United Nations.
He added: “The world must stop turning a blind eye.” “Where is our collective humanity if we allow this situation to continue?”
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