The Sudan crisis - A children’s crisis
The conflict in Sudan has upended the lives of children. Millions have fled their homes and are displaced in the country and across the borders.
As the conflict in Sudan continues, children are bearing the biggest brunt. Millions have fled their homes and are displaced in the country and across the borders.
Currently, 50 per cent of the total population - more than 24.7 million people, almost 14 million of whom are children, are in need of humanitarian assistance.
Sudan is now the largest child displacement crisis in the world, with a recorded 3.5 million children fleeing widespread violence in search of safety, food, shelter and health care—most within Sudan—while hundreds of thousands are sheltering in sprawling make-shift camps in neighboring countries.
Children have endured eight months of uncertainty, trauma and violence. The current situation in Sudan is a deepening children’s crisis, severely putting at risk the future of the country and heavily affecting the wider region.
Before the crisis, the situation of children was dire – Sudan had one of the highest rates of malnutrition among children in the world. More than 3 million children were acutely malnourished, of whom over 610,000 severely wasted. Without timely treatment many children will not survive. This number is expected to increase; Recurrent disease outbreaks, including measles and malaria, continue to affect large numbers of children, and the routine immunization rate had rapidly fallen with one in six children completely unprotected; 11 million people, almost one third of the population, were in need of urgent water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions while WASH-related diseases as diarrhea and cholera remained a high risk due to lack of safe water and adequate sanitation.
Nearly 7 million school-age children were out of school (one in three girls and one in four boys), and the remaining 12 million in school struggled to learn due to insufficient learning spaces and supplies, teachers, and lack of other support, including for disabled children. Of those in school, 7 out of 10 could not read and understand a simple sentence.
Sudan is faced with a catastrophic humanitarian crisis which is projected to deteriorate further if the fighting does not immediately stop, pushing the already vulnerable into a further state of desperation, and threatening millions of children's lives daily.
Each day the fighting continues, the misery deepens for children in Sudan especially the most vulnerable.
“No bullets. One rose for each child." These were the powerful words of 10-year-old Majd during a psychosocial session delivered by UNICEF and partners.
How UNICEF is supporting
UNICEF Sudan is staying and delivering a three-pronged strategy:
- Maintaining lifesaving services in conflict hotspots.
- Providing urgent assistance to the newly displaced and host communities, and
- Preserving essential WASH, Health, Nutrition and Child Protection services across the 18 states of Sudan.
Since the start of the current conflict, UNICEF Sudan is:
- Reaching children and women with health supplies and vaccines.
- Screening children for malnutrition and initiating RUTF treatment for those that are malnourished.
- Providing communities with safe drinking water, and sanitation and hygiene services.
- Reaching pregnant and lactating women and their families with cash assistance, information and vital services to sustain their resilience, health and wellbeing.
- Providing children and caregivers with psychosocial-counselling, learning and protection support, including through safe-spaces established across Sudan.
- On June 8, UNICEF Sudan, together with ICRC, secured the relocation of 297 children without parental care from Maygoma orphanage in Khartoum to a safer location where they are receiving emergency care and support and where efforts are ongoing for all children to be placed with foster families.
What UNICEF is calling for
- The fighting to stop.
- Protecting, respecting, and fulfilling the rights of children caught in the middle of this devastating crisis.
- Unimpeded access and free movement and protection of humanitarian goods and workers.
- Flexible funding to sustain and scale-up our support to the children, their families, and communities in Sudan.
UNICEF's emergency response
UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children appeal helps support the agency’s work as it provides conflict- and disaster-affected children with access to water, sanitation, nutrition, education, health and protection services.
The cost of inaction of the Sudan crisis is unacceptably high
Without an immediate and extensive crisis response, the consequences of displacement, lack of basic social services, and protection will have devastating - and long-term - effects on children, and therewith the future of Sudan, the region, and globally.
- Close to 14 million children in dire need of health and nutrition care, water sanitation and hygiene services, as well as education and protection support will not receive the essential services they require to survive and thrive.
- Without treatment, 700,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) at high risk of not surviving, certainly not thriving given the irreversible impacts of SAM.
- 1.7 million children under-one risk missing critical lifesaving vaccinations to protect them and their families and communities from disease outbreaks.
- A generation of children in Sudan will miss out on education. Almost 20 million children in Sudan are unable to return to classrooms, making it one of the worst education crises in the world.
- Millions of boys and girls will lack a sense of safety and psycho-social well-being.
- Basic social services are a lifeline in a country with more than 60 per cent of households live in poverty, and 14 million children in dire need of humanitarian support. Both numbers will only grow if the conflict continues until the end of 2023.
- 1.3 million children will be born in 2024 requiring skilled support for safe delivery to protect the lives of mother
“As in any conflict—the direct and indirect impacts for children and families are devastating, and without concerted action, including the commitment of the parties to the conflict to stop the fighting and uphold international law, severe violations of children’s rights will only worsen. Without guaranteed, safe and unimpeded access for humanitarian workers, and life-saving supplies, along with urgently needed additional funding, the futures of millions of children will remain in the balance,”