Nearly 8 million children already in humanitarian need in Sudan at greater risk from growing economic crisis, hunger, conflict and harmful practices
Khartoum, 16 June 2022 – Today, as we mark the International Day of the African Child, Plan International Sudan, Save the Children, UNICEF, and World Vision International Sudan call upon all duty-bearers to stand in solidarity with Sudanese children and uphold the collective responsibilities to leave no child behind.
We are deeply concerned that Sudan’s worsening economic situation, ongoing conflicts, growing hunger, and the global impact of climate change, in combination with the protracted nutrition and water crises, will erase the gains made through our child focused interventions in recent years. Sudan continues to be, for too many children, a very challenging place to be born and grow up.
In 2022, aid agencies estimated that 14.3 million people across the country will need humanitarian assistance this year. Approximately 8.2 million of those in need of humanitarian assistance are women and girls, and 7.8 million are children. Due to the multiple crises – exacerbated by the war in Ukraine – this number is likely to only increase.
Currently, three million children under five years of age suffer from acute malnutrition, of which 650,000 children face severe acute malnutrition. Without any treatment, about half of those suffering severe acute malnutrition will die. Each year, 78,000 under-five children continue to die from preventable causes, a figure estimated to significantly rise if investments in the health sector are not increased.
Children, especially young girls and adolescents, are exposed to conflict, violence, abuse, exploitation, and nefarious practices, such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and child marriage. Approximately 31 percent of girls aged 0-14 years have been subjected to FGM and 38 percent of girls aged 15-18 are married before the age of 18. Children living and working on the street and migrant children face serious challenges in accessing basic services.
In Sudan, 3.6 million children are out-of-school and 8.1 million in-school children are negatively impacted by school closures. Close to 17.3 million people do not have basic access to drinking water, while 24 million people don’t have access to proper sanitation facilities.
As humanitarian and development agencies, we appeal to the international community to increase humanitarian assistance and expand support to lifesaving and development services in Sudan. Let us make sure we help individuals and families, especially the poor and vulnerable, to cope with crises and shocks, in order to safeguard the future of the children in Sudan.
We urge Sudanese authorities to prioritize the protection and well-being of children, as well as the protection of their families, especially within the most vulnerable communities in conflict-affected areas of the country.
Let us all strive to urgently address the growing challenges which children in Sudan face to survive and thrive in order to build towards a peaceful and prosperous Sudan.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child and is committed to the children of Sudan. We never give up on finding solutions that provide immediate help to save the lives of children or provide durable support so that those children grow up with dignity, health and an education.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.