Mothers and children at the refugee site of Adré, in the East of Chad, close to the border of Sudan.

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Sudan: over 200 days of war leaving a generation
of children on the brink

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7 November 2023

Statement by UNICEF calling for redoubled commitment to Sudan, now the largest child displacement crisis in the world

NEW YORK, 7 November, 2023 - “As we mark 200 days since the ongoing brutal war in Sudan broke out on 15 April, UNICEF calls for the redoubled commitment by the international community and all parties in the conflict to address the plight of millions of children and families who are living through a relentless nightmare day after day. Children continue to pay the highest price for a crisis not of their making. Increasingly with their own lives.

“Sudan is now the largest child displacement crisis in the world, with a recorded 3 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 continue to bear the heaviest brunt of the violence. Some 14 million children in Sudan are in urgent need of life-saving humanitarian assistance. Many of them are living in a state of perpetual fear—fear of being killed, injured, recruited or used by armed actors.

“Reports of conflict-related sexual violence, including rape, have been rampant, and with fighting only intensifying in recent weeks in places like Khartoum, Darfur, and Kordofans, the very real worry is that child rights violations will continue to spike. So far, UNICEF has received allegations of over 3,100 severe violations, including the killing and maiming of children.

“Meanwhile, none of Sudan’s children have been able to return to school, with the future of an entire generation now hanging in the balance. A staggering 19 million children in Sudan are unable to return to classrooms, making it one of the worst education crises in the world. 

“UNICEF and partners are providing life-saving assistance to millions of children inside Sudan and in neighboring countries, including water, health, nutrition, safe spaces and learning. But with needs outpacing resources, time is running out. We need safe and unhindered humanitarian access to deliver life-saving supplies and services to reach every child in need. 

“The looming threat of deadly diseases - such as cholera, dengue, measles and malaria - is also on the rise, with outbreaks already expanding. Today, around 7.4 million children lack safe drinking water. Nearly half of those are under the age of five and at serious risk of diarrheal diseases and cholera. Many others lack routine vaccinations against easily preventable diseases, while nearly 700,000 children with severe acute malnutrition are at risk of dying without treatment. Water and health infrastructure must be preserved as per international humanitarian law.

Meanwhile, UNICEF’s humanitarian appeal for this year is only 24 per cent funded. 

“We cannot allow the death and suffering of millions of children in Sudan to become another forgotten humanitarian catastrophe. These children need our support now. And most of all, they need peace.”

We’re committed to transparency. To see how we split up expenses and manage our costs, read our annual report or visit UNICEF Open to see a live overview of all our projects.

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