Only 5 percent of the money needed for children in Sudan has been collected

According to UNICEF, more than one million children have been displaced since the conflict in Sudan began in mid-April. More than 330 children have been killed, 1,900 children have been injured and many more are in grave danger.

More than half of the East African country’s 45 million residents are children. More than 13.6 million of them are in need of humanitarian assistance, including 620,000 children suffering from acute malnutrition.

“We feed them therapeutic food, also known as Plumpy’nuts,” says Khodar, who is from Lebanon and has worked for UNICEF for more than 30 years. Plumpy’Nut is a peanut paste containing high energy value, sugar, vegetable oil and skimmed milk powder, enriched with vitamins and minerals. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, pasta has already saved millions of young children.

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“At this point we still have enough Plumpi’Nut to last through the end of the year, but this is based on pre-conflict calculations,” warned Khodar. “In January 2024, therapeutic food for severely malnourished children will end. If there is no extra money to buy that food, a large number of children will die.”

Khodar said water and sanitation facilities are also important. UNICEF recently delivered clean water for drinking and sanitation to displaced people via trucks, installed water tanks and distributed water purification tablets along with hygiene kits and soap.

At present, the situation in Darfur is also worrying. There is little verified information available on the reasons for the conflict, but an estimated 5.6 million children live in the Western Region. About 270,000 of these are believed to have fled the fighting.

Active fighting continues with severe insecurity and looting, particularly in West and Central Darfur. Lack of safe water puts millions of children at risk of dehydration, malnutrition and diarrhoea. It is estimated that around 15,000 children under the age of five in West Darfur suffer from acute malnutrition.

If the fighting continues, UNICEF fears that many children, like us, will not be able to attend school in the next school year, which starts in September. “It is not much time yet and there is no political solution in sight,” says Khodar.

In addition, the immunization of children against diseases such as measles and polio is at risk, stressed Khodar. That too will cost lives.

Finally, floods occur frequently in Sudan around this time of year, Khodar said. As a result, many roads will no longer be accessible and humanitarian assistance will become more difficult. Without additional food, the number of malnourished children will rise again.

An international UN donor conference for Sudan will take place on Monday in Geneva, Switzerland.

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