Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell on the escalating humanitarian crisis
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NEW YORK/NAIROBI, 4 May 2023 – “The situation in Sudan is teetering toward catastrophe, and children are increasingly caught in the crossfire. While we are unable to confirm estimates due to the intensity of the violence, UNICEF has received reports that 190 children have been killed and another 1,700 injured in Sudan since conflict erupted almost three weeks ago. For the sake of Sudan’s children, the violence must stop.
“As in any conflict, children are the most vulnerable and every effort must be made to keep them out of harm’s way. UNICEF calls on parties to the conflict to abide by their legal obligations under international humanitarian law and ensure that children are not caught in the line of fire. This includes stopping all attacks on health centres, schools, and water and sanitation systems and other infrastructure on which children rely.
“Children have been living amid terrifying violence for nearly three weeks, and countless families are now on the move to safety in Sudan and beyond its borders. Humanitarian workers have also been attacked, while humanitarian facilities, vehicles and supplies – including those of UNICEF – have been looted or destroyed.
“These attacks are undermining our capacity to reach children across the country with lifesaving health, nutrition, water and sanitation services. It is critical that parties to the conflict adhere to international law by ensuring that humanitarian actors can safely operate on the ground to support civilians in need. We call for unlimited, unimpeded, and uninterrupted imports of humanitarian and essential commercial supplies, including food and fuel, by sea, air and road – no matter who controls these areas.
“UNICEF also calls for a long-term political solution to the crisis, so that Sudan’s children can grow up in an environment of peace and look ahead to a more hopeful future.”