THE United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has raised the alarm over children’s safety in war-ravaged Sudan.
The agency said on Thursday, May 11, that the conflict had forced at least 450,000 children to flee their homes, including 82,000 who had crossed into neighbouring countries.
The agency quoted United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as saying more than 164,000 people had sought refuge across Sudan’s borders since the war broke out on April 15, including in the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya and South Sudan.
“In addition, IOM estimates some 736,000 people are newly internally displaced within Sudan since the start of the conflict. Almost 3.8 million people were internally displaced within Sudan prior to the outbreak of violence.”
Many communities receiving the displaced populations are already affected by multiple crises, with basic services and existing humanitarian capacity already overstretched, UNICEF said, adding that the rainy season would heighten access challenges and increase disease risks.
“The conflict is also disrupting cross-border trade and movement, leading to a sharp increase in food prices in neighbouring countries, with a higher risk of food insecurity in vulnerable host communities.”
The ICIR reported how Nigerians in Sudan faced life-threatening challenges, and Nigeria almost had a diplomatic row with Egypt, where many of its citizens sought refuge from the war before it succeeded in evacuating them back home.
Among several other reports on the violence, this organisation reported that the war threatened 219,000 pregnancies.
UNICEF Executive Director, Catherine Russell noted that the violence had had a devastating toll on Sudan’s children, adding that “thousands have experienced deeply traumatic events or been driven from their homes in search of relative safety. Their situation remains precarious, and continued support and assistance from the international community and humanitarian partners are critical”.
UNICEF said it provided emergency health kits, essential supplies and medicines to hospitals and primary healthcare centres to support the treatment of the injured and access to life-saving and basic health services.
Besides, it supports displaced children and families, ensuring the continuity of essential services, including providing nutrition supplies to help keep more than 80 per cent of facilities functioning in affected areas, among other life-saving supports.
The agency called on the international community to urgently support its efforts by providing additional funding and resources to address the growing crisis.
“With sustained support, UNICEF aims to reach and assist more children in need and secure their rights to survival, development, and protection.”