Humanitarian Action for Children 2012


© UNICEF/NYHQ2004-0863/Noorani

A girl sits on a bundle of firewood in the Abu Shouk camp in North Darfur. Conflict in different parts of Sudan, and restricted humanitarian access to the 1.9 million displaced people in Darfur, have exacerbated crisis levels of undernutrition.

Mid-Year Review of the Workplan for Sudan, August 2012


Children and Women in Crisis

The Republic of Sudan experienced an outbreak of armed conflict in the border areas in 2011, as well as a lack of humanitarian access in the wake of the Republic of South Sudan’s secession in July. Violence and insecurity, particularly in Abyei, the Blue Nile and South Kordofan, severely affected or displaced more than an estimated 440,000 people1 – most of them women and children – and is but one example of the urgent need for intervention. In the three Darfur states where 1.9 million people remain displaced in camps,2 inadequate humanitarian access due to insecurity, weak physical infrastructure and the sharp decline in funding levels have been significant challenges.

The nutrition situation in Sudan is characterized by chronically high levels of acute malnutrition, a trend confirmed by the Sudan Household Survey 2010, which showed a prevalence of global acute malnutrition of 16.4 per cent and severe acute malnutrition of 5.3 per cent,3 both well above international thresholds for an emergency situation. This translates to more than 300,000 children in Sudan with life-threatening severe wasting at any given time. Meanwhile, diminishing harvests caused by drought and below-average rainfall, as well as the steady increase in food prices throughout the past five years, rising inflation and increased cost of living have exacerbated the existing socio-economic context and is likely to have further negative effects on children and women, particularly in conflict zones.

Meeting Urgent Needs in 2012

In 2012, UNICEF will aim to meet the urgent needs of more than 7 million at-risk children and women in conflict-affected regions, particularly in Darfur and the Three Transitional Areas,4 as well as in East Sudan.

  • At least 150,000 severely malnourished children will receive ready-to-use therapeutic food.
  • Sustained access to essential health services for high-impact preventive and curative interventions, to reduce common childhood illnesses including diarrhoea, malaria, acute respiratory infections and vaccine-preventable diseases, will reach nearly 7 million pregnant women and children under 5.
  • Sustained access to WASH services will be provided to at least 4 million people, including 800,000 children.
  • Protective services, for 3 million people, including 500,000 women and 2.4 million children, will be improved by providing reintegration and psychosocial support, capacity building, coordination, mine-risk education and supplies.
  • More than 400,000 children in the most disadvantaged and difficult-to-reach communities in Darfur, East Sudan and the Three Transitional Areas will have improved access to quality education.
  • More than 2 million children, adolescents and women will have access to information on prevention, care and treatment of HIV and AIDS.
  • UNICEF will focus on communication and advocacy to facilitate improved mobilization and community readiness in response to emergencies.

Humanitarian Funding at Work: Highlights from 2011

In 2011, UNICEF estimated that US$131,068,300 was needed for its humanitarian work in Sudan. As of end October 2011, US$40,067,906 (31 per cent) had been received. UNICEF expanded coverage for the treatment for severe acute malnutrition, treating 25,000 children in the first half of 2011. Increased access to primary health-care services benefited at least 6 million people, the majority of whom were children. More than 4 million people were provided emergency WASH services in camps for internally displaced persons, host communities, schools and health centres in Darfur, East Sudan and the Three Areas. More than 1,000 children associated with armed forces were released and reintegrated; and psychosocial support was provided to more than 70,000 conflict-affected children. Access and quality of education improved for 340,000 children (more than the programmatic goal of 300,000) in the most disadvantaged and difficult-to-reach communities of Darfur, East Sudan and the Three Areas. Non-food items, such as blankets, sleeping mats, etc., were given to more than 1.4 million displaced people. More than 250,000 people among the returning and resettling population in Khartoum’s newly urbanized centre, as well as at Kosti Transit Centre, were reached with communication and advocacy.

Funding Requirements for 2012

UNICEF is requesting US$98,083,000 to continue its humanitarian work in Sudan. UNICEF has aligned this request with the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) requirements. With the continued disruptions of livelihoods in Darfur, the intensification of localized conflicts and ongoing challenges of HIV, undernutrition, disease outbreaks and food insecurity, funding and support from donors and partners will enable UNICEF to reach more than 7 million children and women throughout Sudan with critical life-saving support.

More information on humanitarian action planned for 2012 can be found at and the country office website at

1 United Nations, ‘Sudan Humanitarian Work Plan 2012’, forthcoming.
2 United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Sudan:  2011 Humanitarian Snapshot (as of 24 October 2011)’, OCHA, New York.
3 ‘Sudan Household Survey, 2010’, analysed using World Health Organization Growth Standards. 
4 The Three Transitional Areas, which include Abyei, Blue Nile State and Southern Kordofan State, were afforded special status under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.