Sudan: UN sounds alarm over thousands of child deaths

Malnutrition and disease in the midst of a violent conflict have claimed thousands of young lives. UNICEF has warned that many thousands more are likely to die

The Sudan conflict has been going on for almost six months, with no end in sight (photo: DW)
The Sudan conflict has been going on for almost six months, with no end in sight (photo: DW)


More than 1,200 children have died from malnutrition and diseases such as measles in refugee camps housing people displaced by the ongoing conflict in Sudan, the UN said on Tuesday, 19 September.

The figure refers to children under the age of five who had been living in camps in the White Nile state, just south of Khartoum, who had died since May. It was announced by Allen Maina, chief of public health at the UN refugee agency UNHCR at a briefing in Geneva.

"Unfortunately, we fear numbers will continue rising," Maina said.

Thousands more children expected to die

The conflict that broke out almost six months ago between Sudanese government forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces has brought the country's healthcare system to its knees.

Health facilities have come under direct attack and health care professionals are severely lacking, according to the UN.

This comes on top of difficulties in gaining access to basic necessities such as food. According to the WHO, 3.4 million babies and young children are severely undernourished in Sudan.

The UN children's agency UNICEF said that of the 330,000 babies due by the end of the year, "many thousands of newborns" would die.

"They and their mothers need skilled delivery care. However, in a country where millions are either trapped in war zones or displaced, and where there are grave shortages of medical supplies, such care is becoming less likely by the day," UNICEF spokesperson James Elder told the same Geneva briefing.

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Published: 20 Sep 2023, 11:03 AM