Humanitarian Action: UNICEF Sudan Annual Results Report 2023

Staying and delivering for the children in Sudan

malnutrition, nutrition, conflict, displaced children, poor diets, poor meals, complementary feeding, RUTF, ready to use therapeutic food, ECHO, UNICEF, war, conflict
UNICEF/UNI529792/Ahmed Elfatih Mohamdeen


Sudan is facing a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions. The war in Sudan that erupted on 15 April 2023, is severely putting at risk the health and well-being of Sudan’s 24 million children, the future of the country, and heavily affecting the wider region. 14 million children in Sudan require urgent humanitarian assistance. Millions of those children face multiple risks of grave violations – killing & maiming, child recruitment, violence, rape, and more.

The brutal war is creating the perfect storm for a famine and a catastrophic loss of children’s lives. Close to 4 million children suffer from acute malnutrition, and 730,000 of them with the most severe form. Almost half of the children suffering from severe acute malnutrition are located in areas that are hard to access, where there is ongoing fighting. Hunger does not kill but makes bodies weak. With child-vaccination coverage dropping, and disease outbreaks as cholera, measles, malaria and dengue; hundreds of thousands are at significant risk of dying. Famine happens because of inaction and right now predictable and sustainable access to get multi-sectoral prevention and mitigation measures in place in a short time before the lean season starts in a few months’ time – is needed NOW.

Social systems – including the health and education systems – are on the brink of collapse. Over 70 per cent of hospitals in conflict-affected areas are non-operational, over 90 per cent of schools across the Country are closed. Critical frontline workers – nurses, teachers, doctors, social workers – have not been paid in months. Supplies are depleted and infrastructure, including hospitals and schools, still under attack or used as shelter by displaced families. Inflation is soaring severely impacting the cost of living, further hampering affordability to access any remaining services.

Sudan is now the largest child displacement crisis in the world. Over 8 million people have fled their homes including close to 4 million children. The future of the region, and beyond, is at stake. Already, almost more than 1.6 million people have fled from Sudan into neighboring countries. If the conflict continues to expand, we could be seeing increased insecurity all the way to the Sahel; humanitarian needs will significantly increase, and most importantly Sudan’s instability will exert far-reaching consequences on the Great Lakes, Horn of Africa, and the entire Arab region, including the Red Sea.

Bureaucratic impediments, telecommunications blackouts, and lack of predictable, free and safe access to move humanitarian supplies and personnel across battlelines, and borders, severely hamper speed and scale in delivering lifesaving and life-sustaining services for vulnerable across Sudan.

UNICEF Sudan Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) Appeal 2023 was only 18 per cent funded. UNICEF secured an additional US$87 million of complementary funding to sustain and strengthen the resilience of the systems that deliver basic services and communities under the crisis response strategy. This made the UNICEF crisis response 28 per cent funded in 2023. Many of the results achieved for children vs targets, which are described in detail below, reflect this underfunding which varies by sector. Millions of children remain trapped in conflict as Sudan grapples with the world’s largest displacement crisis.

Staying and delivering: In response to the conflict UNICEF implemented a three-pronged humanitarian, development and peace nexus (HDP) strategy: responding in hotspot areas, addressing the needs of displaced people in safer areas, and sustaining systems for the provision of basic services to children and their families. The evolving and fluid situations called for maximum agility and adaptability, as well as meeting the needs of the most vulnerable children through prevention and response interventions to ensure sustainable results, and the resilience of basic social service delivery systems and communities to withstand shocks. Despite the complex operating environment and limited funding in 2023, UNICEF and partners delivered important results for the children of Sudan’s:

  • 6.4 million people reached with health supplies.
  • 5.9 million people reached with safe drinking water.
  • 5.4 million children reached with malnutrition screening, including almost 313,400 who received life-saving treatment.
  • 870,100 people reached with psychosocial counselling, learning, and protection support.
  • 300,000 people reached with cash, information and services to preserve health and resilience.
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